Portuguese metallers We Are Killing Ourselves has not only returned with their second album “The Road Of Awareness”, they have also set a new standard by unleashing one of the years most impressive and senses stretching releases. There have been a fair amount of satisfying and wonderfully imposing releases to leap out at the ear in recent months but very few come with the musical flair, intensity and unexpected creativity as can be found on “The Road Of Awareness”. It may have been four years since their debut but WAKO are back with a bigger and more powerful muscular sound with metal and fluid technical flavours melded into a ferocious blistering storm.
Formed in 2001, the band has steadily picked up acclaim and an ever increasing fan base through their 2002 demo “Outrage” and the “Symbiotic Existence” EP of 2004. Through their crushing live performances which over the years has seen them share stages with and support the likes of Soulfly, Sepultura, (Hed)P.E., Municipal Waste, Obituary, and Textures, 2008 tours in the US and UK, plus the startling force of 2007 debut album “Deconstructive Essence” via Casket Music, the band’s reputation grew far beyond their homeland and impressed the media. Linking up once more with Daniel Cardoso, who has been a constant since that first demo with the band’s recordings, “The Road Of Awareness” released through Rastilho Records should with the luck all bands need, thrust them forth as a definite major force in metal.
Musically the band brings elements from bands like Meshuggah, Circles, and Textures with a healthy dose of Lamb Of God, Society One and Mudvayne. Each song on “The Road Of Awareness” is a monumental slab of punishing and consuming brutal riffs and flesh numbing rhythms veined and layered with assertive and mesmeric melodic technicality, plus an emotive progressive creativity at times that inspires as equally as it pleases. The release is a full on experience entertaining and feeding every sense, its aural intensity thick enough and forceful energy intrusive enough to virtually feel and taste. Despite the flavours mentioned the WAKO sound is theirs and theirs alone.
First track ‘The Shape Of Perfection’ opens up with an atmospheric ambient intro, part industrial part darkly disturbing. Intimidating and menacing in its emotive way the song erupts into life with incisive riffs and cutting guitar stabs, rhythms sending the ear into shock with their consistent pace and intensity. Though the album eventually shows this is not to be the harshest or most punishing of songs unveiled its deliberate intent sets one up for the following nine explosions nicely, the whole release leaving shell shocked bodies in its wake once the last notes of expressive closer ‘Coronation Of Existence’ depart.
An impressive start that few albums have rivalled this year is soon blown away by the next magnificent assault from ‘Ship Of Fools’. With taunting scything riffs and demanding rhythms the track consumes the ear before gracing it with a varied mix of strength and intricate melodies. The song never stands still leaping through different ideas and attacks, each as successful as the other and seamlessly blended into a stunning song. The vocals of Nuno Rodrigues growl with malice complimenting the sounds and energy conjured by the band, later he proves diverse too with cleaner but just as expressive variations in his delivery.
The song is the standard bearer for the album and soon matched by the likes of ‘Drifting Beyond Reality’, ‘Dissonant Dark Dance’, and ‘The Sorcerer( The Blood Of The Titan)’, all devastating intrusions fuelled by ingenuity and unique songwriting and flavours. There are no weak songs or parts though on the album, each track vastly diverse to the other. ‘Coded Message Of Death’ with its Alice In Chains taste mid way through, and ‘Intersected To A Closer Premonition’ with more than an early Machine Head about it, examples and as unique as they are diverse.
“The Road Of Awareness” is immense and a definite late contender for album of the year, and certainly it should be on all to buy lists. WAKO have returned and the rest of metal had better watch out, the challenge has been set and its bar raised.