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Wooden Stake : Dungeon Prayers & Tombyard Serenades

Wooden Stake are no more, nor less exciting than the Horror/Old-School Death revival as a whole.

Wooden Stake is a band much talked about at the moment. Wherever Metal is enjoyed - finely aged in oak barrels, in those occult circles where the innocent, fresh and raw air of yesteryear pleasures is praised, where one wallows in worn and dusty sheets that release the sweet or rancid smell (youíll choose) of old fartsí memories - Wooden Stake is on every tongue and their name twinkles in every posts of old-skull boards. You've noticed that, I guess.

The band is all the more visible because they are doing nothing to keep things quiet: in 2 years of existence, the duo has already released 3 EPs, 2 splits and this full-length! Should we rejoice? Honestly, itís no more, nor less exciting than the Horror / Old-School Death revival as a whole. The band consists of drummer / guitarist Wayne "Elektrocutioner" of Decrepitaph and vocalist / bassist Vanessa Nocera. Their ambition is musically tiny - thematically hackneyed but still pleasant in terms of effective moods.

Musically, Wooden Stake follow the lead of their elders: the riffs are peaty, moist, muddy, the drumming is coarse and rough, the different vocal ranges of Vanessa shift from deliquescent and atonal singing (like Murkrat) to the the grumpy barking ŗ la Grey and ShEver. The music escapes suffocating from an archaic partition, faded, dog-eared, stained with mud, blood and tears of anger. Simple and spare, it unfolds in little macabre rhymes that are as many deviant witches stories, nostalgic for a time when the word 'magic' was still able to make people dissolve in fear. The theme is quite worn-out, but Vanessa, who writes the lyrics, masters her subject and we follow her little stories with pleasure.

The third song made me prick up my ears: the opening riff is very good, but it reminds me a lot of the aural texture and overall tone of Stabat Mater - the resemblance is obvious; the ending part sounds like padding like many times- too many- elsewhere on the album, unfortunately... the band almost seems to refuse to innovate, to sharp its weapons at its own grindstone and to leave its leather in care of his own ointments. The music is also packed very tightly around the lyrics, without ever really allowing room for the atmosphere to expand, which could enhance the flavor of the words. Ultimately, itís only Vanessa's performance that makes the band interesting.

Nothing personal or new under the bewitching moon of Wooden Stake, but a childish pleasure to let oneself be drawn by the stories told in a tone of feigned drama. The pleasure of a run on the ghost train: you know that the carriage wonít deviate from its track, but you indulge yourself in some innocent fright anyway.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Cadaverum Caecorum Liber
2. Salem, 1692
3. Tortured into Eternal Repose
4. Die Rache der Hexen
5. Six Feet of Earth... And All that it Contains
6. Cemetery Closes at Sundown
7. Skullcoven
8. Anguished Atonement
9. Bleeding Coffin

Duration : Approx. ?? minutes

Visit the Wooden Stake bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-04-06 by Bertrand Marchal
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