Wode is a Manchester based Black Metal group and Servants of the Countercosmos is the follow up to their 2016 self titled debut. This is a slightly more polished album, but by no means clean, and their sound has changed slightly. Their Black Metal is fast and aggressive, never letting up for a single second. The nonstop pummeling of drums and vocalist Michael Czerwoniuk’s throat tearing howls keep the blood pumping. This keeps up with ’68’s Two Parts Viper (2017) (reviewed here) as the most adrenaline fueled album of the year. The stand out element of this album is it’s variation- the band changes gears so frequently that it’s almost tough to keep up with them, shifting keys and time signatures left and right.
The two things that stand out to me is Czerwoniuk’s vocals and T. Horrocks’s aggressive drumming. The guitars are there and they have some awesome moments, but the vocals and drumming are simply outstanding, and thankfully the production lets them shine. Lyrically the album is apocalyptic, lovecraftian, demonic, and ancient- everything you’d want in your black metal. They’re impressionistic, images of swirling chaos descending into a void, clawing at the darkness, etc. I love the breakdowns and guttural screams on Temple Interment, and it’s something that’s not on the rest of the album. Each song is quite unique in this aspect, it never feels like they are repeating themselves.
The title track Servants of the Countercosmos is, as expected, amazing- and I love how they snuck in clean guitars behind the first verse. They come back into play in the last half of the song, and when the bass drums end the song there’s finally a moment to catch your breath. Then the sprawling Chaosspell comes on, possibly the best on the album and one of the best Black Metal songs I’ve heard in a while. It’s the longest on the album and it goes through so many phases it’s hard to imagine this played live, it is really mindblowing. The acoustic release finally happens with the closer Undoing, but it almost feels out of place or underdeveloped. I really liked this album, but if it were filled with songs like Chaosspell, then it would be contender for album of the year. As it stands it’s still a great album and I’m anticipating their follow up album in the future, Black Metal fans need to check this album out ASAP, it might be your favorite for the year.