W.A.K.O not Whacko

W.A.K.O (We Are Killing Ourselves) were born in 2001 in Almeirim, Portugal. After recording the usual demo fayre the band released the E.P 'Symbiotic Existence' in 2005. After taking some time to reflect, W.A.K.O return with their debut full-length release and unleash their own style of Portuguese Metal in to the metal market.

It's easy to be misconstrued by W.A.K.O's mantle, suggesting a band that are completely nuts who create off the wall style music that only they can fathom. This is far from the truth because W.A.K.O are far from whacko, in fact I would go as far as saying they are the best band I've heard Casket Music release.

The Portuguese metal scene rarely makes it to these shores so it's difficult to compare W.A.K.O with anything else coming out of Portugal at the moment. I would go as far as saying that W.A.K.O certainly have an 'American' thing going on here. Thankfully we're not talking generic American rock but a post heavy end nu-metal vibe along the lines of Dry Kill Logic. Don't get me wrong, there's only an undercurrent of Americanisms on 'Deconstructive Essence,' the rest of the music is a mix of brutal down-tuned riffage, vicious vocals and the odd solo.

The production is near on perfect for this type of riff driven music. The bottom end really hits you as the double bass and twangy strings play in unison. The awesome 'Nihilist War God' demonstrates this point immaculately and with the grinding changes and fleets with subtle melody it's easy to see why this track is the best song on the album. Vocalist Nuno Rodrigues has a good growl in his armoury but occasionally he brings out the clean vocals to prevent all the songs blending into one. This trick is used sparingly but to brilliant effect. 'Eternal Spiral' has an Alice in Chains feel to it but also a Fear Factory boot up its backside to give the song extra punch.

The album is held together by an excellent slow, dark and spine tingling anthem. 'My Misery' breaks up the waves of thrash with ease without losing the band any credibility. In fact the opposite is the case because far too many records these days fail to stray from the one-trick or formulaic style of song writing. 'My Misery' is reminiscent of an old thrash ballad but with more gothic overtones instead of straight up metal.

There's nothing whacko about 'Deconstructive Essence'. It's a good, solid metal album with very little filler and some truly outstanding tunes. The band could easily hold their own in an American market I just hope Casket Music can get them there. There is real potential in this 5-piece it all boils down to the band's work ethic and willingness to go beyond the post-nu metal influence. A harsh thing to say but it could be the only way the band can avoid being dragged into the 'just another metal band' category which would be a damn shame.