Sinister emanations creep from the UK’s depths as WODE casts their third creation of infernality into our wretched world. This new conjuration expands upon the sound that began with 2016’s self-titled debut and continued on Servants of the Countercosmos a year later. It channels the pioneering spirit of classic Heavy Metal and 80’s elements through the forces of modern extremity to craft the unique blackened amalgam titled Burn in Many Mirrors. An invigorating and dynamic Metal quest awaits, and there shouldn’t be any hesitation to follow WODE beyond the highest towers and deepest catacombs to witness the unspeakable scenes within.
Imminent darkness commences as tremolo melodies shred through a heavy rhythmic riff on “Lunar Madness,” and this introduction is followed by death blasts, thrashy riffs, and a solo that collectively evoke an old-school spirit along with the arcane tone of M.C.’s rugged vocals. Intricacies within these riffs continue as melodies progress toward an eerie groove passage of layered dissonance and doom-laden notes. This brooding effect goes further with alternations of icy speed riffing and blast beats while madness surfaces through fleeting psychedelia, and it all eventually succumbs to the dense tremolo riffing that begins on “Serpent’s Coil.” A permeating Classic Metal influence is exemplified through the riffs and intricate melodies on this track, but a transition into raw tremolo melodies takes the melancholic lead and delves into crushing heaviness. A menacing doom results, with melodies and organs driving the development of its gloomy imposition, and this dark energy transfers over to the fire, psychedelic elements, and dismal melodies on “Fire in the Hills.” A heavy force incorporating the return of classic riffing shifts to an entrancing groove with spaced-out melodies, and distress rouses with the portents of doom from droning vocals. Frostbitten tremolo melodies and a wave of Thrash rage into an arpeggiating and dissonant blackness that culminates with a final surge of blasting drums and dueling leads.
An initial barrage of murky tremolo riffs and blasts on “Sulphuric Glow” leads into a classic rhythm with spacey melodies, and heavier progressions reveal their blackened intent with organs that reinforce a looming darkness. The complex melodic arrangements continue their classic embodiment until a lead and furious blasts break the thrashing groove and yield to psychedelic doom on “Vanish Beneath.” This develops into a heavy groove that meanders through maddened breaks with screaming harmonics, and another melodic transition occurs before a vicious lead appears in the midst of riffs and blasts that conjure the first wave barbarity of the 80’s. Layers of raw darkness continue weaving their melodic ruination until this summoned force leaves its brooding impact. An ancient aura enshrouds the intro of “Streams of Rapture (I, II, III)” before thrashy and blackened riffage with death blasts begin the final onslaught, and a heavy chugging initiates the procession of melodies and groove that builds throughout the song’s progression. A transition into slow heaviness accompanies grim arpeggiations and chanting vocals, which guides an epic lead across the finale of classic melodies and driving riffs to properly cast this rite into the apocalyptic end.
The spirits possessing this music are also present in lyrics centering on chaos, death, madness, and occult influences. There are many references involving descent into some ancient tomb or abyss, starting with the search for hidden powers on “Lunar Madness,” which leads to “ancient infernal rites” that unleash an overwhelming discovery. A similar scene appears on “Serpent’s Coil” with a ghastly ceremony carried out in the crypt by a “manic priest,” along with calls to end eternity with strangling constrictions from Ouroboros. There are also many duality references throughout, and this track describes an instance of opposites uniting with “life and death shall converge as one.”
Apocalyptic visions and a pit of death manifest on “Fire in the Hills,” and a renewal after death and transition into a new world is described on “Sulphuric Glow.” It also reveals death as an illusion, which might allude to life also being illusory. “Vanish Beneath” suggests a bad psychedelic experience after altering consciousness for the purpose of some evil spell. Other mystical references surely underly the transformation of Jacob’s latter into a spinal cord here, which I suspect also relates to the album’s cover artwork, and apocalyptic chaos is finally released in its totality as the seventh seal is broken on “Streams of Rapture (I, II, III).” There are many other references worth contemplating in these songs, but it seems they ultimately demonstrate why some things are better off kept secret.
WODE has captured the pure essence of Metal on Burn in Many Mirrors. It incorporates numerous subgenres and eras for an experience that should appeal to many across this musical spectrum, including those who aren’t particularly into Black Metal. WODE also shows a progression in their songcraft with complex melodies that flow seamlessly through a variety of riffing styles. Burn in Many Mirrors is an offering of ritualized death and shadowy chaos that revitalizes the spirit while uniting the past and future of Metal, and its murky depths are mandatory for devotees of the genre.