Formed in Montpellier, France back in 2008 and influenced by bands ranging from Behemoth to The Deftones to Origin to Mogwai(?!), WeaksaW have a very different sound. With a very djent-heavy technical approach to metal, the five piece already have two EPs and a full length to their name. Without wasting any more time, let us meet those deemed wretched on Earth.
Title track, “The Wretched Of The Earth” opens the album up with some serious volume. Sounding like a hybrid between Meshuggah, Gojira and a more modern groove laden thrash, it smashes like a sledgehammer. Harshly roared vocals, droning chords in the verse and seismic like polyrhythmic riffs litter the track. The low end is thunderous and the drumming intricate, all combining to make a truly heavy sound. Shifting to a faster pace before the steadier bridge and following lead, the track keeps hitting hard and despite its shortish length, it does what is required of it.
“Josh” follows on with a similar thrashy-pseudo djent groove to it. Precisely timed riffs and a battery of drums fuel the track whilst the raw vocals hammer away, keeping the aggression flowing as much as possible. With some interesting progressions and musical shifts, it engages well and doesn’t suffer from the usual pitfalls of polyrhythmic based music where things become too complex for the sake of complexity. “XYY” has a slightly sinister feel in its intro thanks to the ringing chords and the precise bursts of low end heavy guitars complimented by a simple lead melody and real venomous vocals add a solid edge to the music. Subtle and clever effects use help give a bigger sound and when combined with the pacing and carefully planted pauses in the music, it helps amp up the dramatic feel. The cleaner build up section towards the end works wonderfully and it helps the pounding final djentish groove round the track off well.
“Zabveniye part 1” has a real intense start to it. Powerful vocals, heavy riffs, bass and drums and a crushing but steady pace all add to the heaviness. The melodic progression subtly rears its head, giving a sense of direction and there is always a building feel, like something a lot bigger looms round the corner and given how this is part one… Perhaps that feel is justified. Heavy and relentless with its rhythmic assault, the powerful sounding track does well, slowly fading to some reverse-effect sounding melodic lines as a low buzz drones out underneath it which slowly turns to feedback. String accompaniment and synths join in, signalling a shift in the music and when. The faint whispered voices come in, that anticipation begins to build up once more, just in time for “Zabvenyie part 2” to rear its head. Instead of a seamless transition, it starts abruptly with a solid and intense rhythmic assault, heading back to the pseudo-djent feel. More melodic than some of the tracks so far in its lead progressions but retaining that powerful low end heavy rhythm, it slips to an epic sounding chorus. Big synths, a melodic hook, choir like backing vocals and raw vocal shouts make for one epic segment of music and it really comes off well, hitting hard before subtly retreating and then back to the technical polyrhythmic verse again, repeating this approach to the end.
“Natoma” opens up with a radio broadcast like sample before erupting in a very Meshuggah friendly, fast paced sound. Powerful, the low end really hits where it hurts, making each thunderous burst of guitar count whilst the simple lead melody line adds some flavour to the sound, but in all honesty, the vocals and lead just pale in comparison to the low end driven sound. Some twisty, slightly atonal fills link sections of the track and harmony lines add an extra edge, but yet again, the powerful bass, drum and rhythm guitar component draw the focus, giving a real solid headbanging feel. Even the dramatic choir like backing vocals in parts cannot draw away from the riff, merely augmenting it.
“Whitetip” takes a different approach. Opening up cleanly with guitar, some controlled feedback and synth, it has a calm approach, granting an initial reprieve from the malevolent sledgehammer feel riffing. Shifting to a steady pace, heavy Gojira like groove, it hammers away with thick riffs and harmonic laden fills, giving a steady headbanging pulse. Vocally raw, the snarls and riffs make for an intense sound before the clean returns again to break the flow up, enabling a very technical, almost death metal sounding burst of intensity to come in. Fast riffs buzz away with a cutting edge and the stabbed feel of the low end heavy guitars, accenting the timing spikes provides a good reference point for those serious about headbanging along in time. Aside from the three sections detailed above, there is little variance, the track consists of these elements and whilst effective, you start to feel like maybe more could come at this point.
“The Expressionless” offers more initially with an odd sounding intro into something which is quite Gojira like riff wise. Softening up a little, the atmospheric verse with ringing clean melodies and thundering rhythm riffs, complimented by steady drums and growled vocals works well, steadily building towards something which turns out to be the initial rumbling riff for the chorus. Buzzing lead guitars add an ominous edge and the very very subtle synth edge rears its head at times just to round out the sound but despite the shift from the previous sound of the album, focusing more on a consistent groove, it still lacks that spark from the Zabvenyie double header to make it stand out.
“Storyteller” has a real melodic quality to it from the off. Steady paced and flowing well, the riffs and lead melodies ring out well before it goes back to that technical edged riffery, adding some fire to the solid drums which keep things locked in pretty well. Simplistic in its approach and a lot more accessible compared to some of the easier tracks, this penultimate offering really lands what the band are trying to achive and you have to wonder if this was deliberately placed near the end of the album to pique the interest before the final track? Personally, I think it was but it would have been much better suited near the start of the album as something to really draw you into it.
Closing the album is the wonderfully titled “Admiral Cunt”. With a very quick feel to it, it goes into a solid djent-like groove, hammering away like much of the album does before it. Solid rhythms, raw almost hardcore like vocals at times, melodic basslines and ringing lead melodies all work well, but with a title like this track has, you’d expect some full on intensity and chaos.
Overall, WeaksaW have released a decent album. It starts off well but peaks earlier, leaving the rest of the album to slowly trail off, save for the penultimate track which acts as a recovery of sorts. Tight rhythmically and with a real heavy as fuck low end, it works well but it does kind of blur into one long song in parts. It’s worth a shot if you even wondered what Gojira esque sounds with Djent delivery came off as, but apart from that, it’s just decent.