You gotta give it to Unbowed — they’re not content to remain in the slaughterhouse. The Canadian blackened death metal band forsake those genres’ love of ground-level horror for something that is bigger and more conceptual, though still very menacing. Their music throttles the listener with its churning riffs and insistent percussion while hinting at something distant and enormous via its massive vocals and synth accents. It’s cool to hear a band be this entertaining while still embracing challenging ideas.
“Fire of Wode,” the new track from Unbowed’s upcoming album Colour the Soul, illustrates the band’s sonic ambition perfectly. The tune is listenable to a T, down to the gang-vocal chorus and the endless barrage of double-bass drumming that might at times make fans think of a more extreme Gojira. But there’s still a feeling of reach, of yearning to move beyond the simple expectations that one might have for a song like this. ‘Epic’ and ‘enjoyable’ are often put at opposite poles of the spectrum, but on this track, they meet perfectly.
Here’s the band’s explanation of the track:
“From Old English wōd (“mad, raging, enraged, insane, senseless, blasphemous”), from Proto-Germanic *wōdaz
“‘Wode’ can be understood as an uncontrollable inspiration; a burning passion. This is also a hint as to the meaning of the name ‘Odin’ or ‘Wodin/Wodanaz’, god of death, war, art, and eldritch wisdom. Essentially this root of his name is placing him as an infallible force upon the natural order of the world. It creates a rather formless, yet artistically manifested rationalization for a god’s potential existence within any age of man. It goes beyond the idea of a bearded man in the sky, in other words.
“Humanity might mimic the gods in this way, or simply become them. When possessed by this overwhelming force we might call inspiration that grows bigger and bigger through its connection to the breath of life or ‘athem’. The fire of wode is furious in its expanse and unstoppable given the proper breath of life.”
Check out our exclusive premiere of “Fire of Wode” below. Unbowed’s Colour the Soul drops May 20th and is available for preorder.