"At The Stroke Of Midnight" CD Compilation

By Earthdog

For those people with a fixation for all things horror and metal, Wooden Stake are a band you just can't go past. This new release is also a vital purchase for fans of the band that might have missed out on some of their out-of-print titles as this compilation brings them all together in one place. In fact you almost get everything they have ever released on the one CD, except for their last full length of course, the great 'Dungeon Prayers And Tombyard Serenades' If you have never heard the band, you have been missing out. Their releases are almost worth buying just for the voice of Vanessa Nocera alone. She has such a diverse vocal approach that is easily up there with any of the doom-metal front-men/vocalists in the world today. Wooden Stake are a classic "cult-band" in every extreme. Everything from the artwork down to the raw, primitive production screams underground metal but it is the doom metal/black metal/old-school death metal blend that is really addictive here.

The band have always striked me as sounding like early Obituary meets Jex Thoth with a side order of Hellhammer. It is primitive, ritualistic and sometimes pretty rough around the edges but that gives the band a certain charm. Obsessed with ghoulish horror films, the occult and sabbathian lumbering riffs, Wooden Stake could easily be passed off as another Acid Witch, Hooded Menace kind of band but they sound nothing like those bands at all. This compilation features a new cut 'Night of the Banshee,' two tracks from 2011's 'Black Caped Carnivore” 7” EP' with the title track and 'Curse of the Funeral Mistress.' You also get 'In the Godless Moonlight' from their split release with Druid Lord which also came out in 2011. Then there's the two cuts 'Death Reads the Black Tarot' and 'The Legend of Blood Castle' off another split release from 2011 with Blizaro. There is the four tracks from 'Vampire Plague Exorcism' and to top things off, they also deliver 'Invoke the Ageless Witch'  and 'At the Stroke of Midnight / Howl of the Devil'  off of 2010's 'Invoke the Ageless Witch 7” EP.'

This is essential for fans of the band wanting all these cuts in the one place or for those people who missed out on the releases the first time around. As a release, it all flows pretty well and despite these tracks coming from different releases, recorded at different times, it all flows nicely. The cd's booklet includes lyrics and cover art from all the featured releases too. This is a great compilation for fans but perhaps more importantly, the perfect starting point for those folks wanting to get to know this band a little better....9/10.