Wail are digging further into the antagonistic rabbit hole with their latest album Civilization Maximus. The Norwegian heavy metal band hits on the themes of manipulation and indoctrination to their signature heavy sound. Through its nine tracks, you are taken through tribalism, salvation and a glance at extremism.
These heavy topics are nothing new for the quartet as they have become known as prophets of the apocalypse of the civilised world. Their previous releases have touched on the catastrophes of the modern world including climate change and epidemics. Using a unique blend of heavy metal soundscapes and insightful lyrics, the band makes you think while having a good time.
The album starts with ‘Down the Mountain’ which hits you with thrashing guitar from the first moment. The screaming melody has a great melodic flow to it that gets your heart pumping before the vocals hit. There is an aggression to the vocal performance which turns into something more positive for the chorus. As you listen to the lyrics, you are filled with the idea that anything is possible even in the face of adversity.
‘Endless Repetition’ continues the pace of the album, but there is a different feeling to it. The guitar-driven melody grabs your chest and shakes it. This feeling melds with the vocals that pierce through you. The harmonisations on the chorus ease the pace of the track before you are thrown back into it for the next verse. There is a great melodic flow to the vocals that you can really get into. The guitar riffs on this track are something else.
The drums and guitars in the opening of ‘Presage’ set a very different vibe for the track. While you have a thread of the same energy as the previous tracks, there is something else lurking in the notes. This song has a more grounded feeling to it compared to the almost soaring vibe that came before. The vocals and melody have an almost prophetic feeling to them. The falsetto in the vocal performance is great and just adds a little something to the vibe.
‘Through the Ice’ has a wonderful guitar line that draws you into the song before the pace picks up. There is an almost frantic feeling to the opening of the track that drops when the vocals hit. The vocals have an accusatory tone to them as they burst through the melody. There is a good vibe to this song even as you are pushed around by the music.
The next track is ‘No Hesitation’ which has a pulsing guitar opening that grabs your hand to toss you into the melodic riff that follows. The vocals have a smoother and easier flow on this track. The overall vibe of this track is a little more laidback compared to the others. However, the vocals do take a turn when the chorus hits which is really awesome.
‘You’ve Got Nothing’ picks the pace up again. There is something unapologetic about this track that is a lot of fun to listen to. The tempo of the melody is easy to get into and the lyrics are really catchy. You could quickly find yourself singing along to the chorus and this means shouting it at the top of your lungs as you get too lost in the melody. The pace of the guitars and drums thrash through you and pump up your energy to another level.
There are these layered guitars in the opening of ‘Manherder’ that really draw you into the track. The vocals enter almost like they were hiding in between the guitars. The layering of this song is really great with the vocals hitting falsettos and weaving into the pace of the melody. There are these movements in the melody that add a little something to the flow of the song.
‘Overwhelming’ has a darker feeling to the guitar line as it drags you into the soundscape. The vocals come in as a high level, but there are backing vocals forming a lower level. This interplay adds to the darker vibe of the track and makes it almost sinister in nature. It is a very interesting track that has a lot going on. While it is the longest song on the album, you don’t realise that as you are covered in the sounds of the music.
The album ends with the title track ‘Civilization Maximus’ which continues that thread of darkness. The guitar-driven melody has this beat to it that grabs your body and makes it move without giving you any choice. The vocals have a smoothness that soars through your head and chest sending you tumbling into the soundscape. The calling of the chorus is great and melds with the backing vocals so well.
Wail continues to drag you deeper into the rabbit hole with their addictive album Civilization Maximus. The thumping guitar and melodic flow of the songs grab you and draw you effortlessly into the soundscape.