Rwake - Rest
I certainly feel a bit out of the loop when it comes to Rwake, a southern US band who have been kicking up mud for over a decade. Their latest release, Rest, is their 2nd since signing to Relapse records. Prior, they've dropped an assortment of full-lengths, eps and demos. After spending the better portion of the last two days totally engrossed by Rest, I have to say I am relatively compelled to dive into their past works.
Rwake have melded the better aspects of stoner metal, sludge, and something I can only refer to as the "Mastodon sound" (you'll pick up what I'm laying down) into a bubbling cauldron of grimy goodness. The haunting, atmospheric and acoustic intro "Souls of the Sky" is simply a slight diversion from what's to come, however pleasant and mood-setting it may be. "It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour" opens with a hammerblow of a riff, with a tempest of lead guitar brewing behind it. Now, it took me a few listens to truly embrace what vocalist C.T. was going for on the record, but as time went on, his prophetic, hoarse shouting style really started to sound like a necessary part of what Rwake are all about. The cleaner backup vocals are an effective counterpoint, and the lyrical subject matter is certainly suited by the style in which they're presented. In 12 minutes this track shifts effortlessly into a much slower, doomier pace, agonizingly dishing out the ten-ton riffage before kicking back into gear and building into a brutally epic conclusion. "An Invisible Thread" is carried dominantly by the guitar work of Gravy and the undercurrent of bass provided by Reid Raley. "The Culling" is a genre-spanning monster, 16 minutes that need to be experienced repeatedly to full take in. It bridges a gap between doom and more traditional metal in a vastly different way than I've heard in ages. And I hereby nominate the guitar solo between 11 and 12 minutes as one of the best of 2011. "ti Progetto" is most likely taken from either a film, television program or novel of which I am not familiar, but it does, lyrically, fit in with the theme of Rest. "Was Only A Dream" is all business on it's back-half, closing the album off with an epic flourish and subsequent peace and quiet, letting you off easy from the nightmare ride you just partook in.
Rest is only flawed in certain sections of their longer tracks running on for perhaps a little too long, and frankly, some of the jarring shifts in tempo and tonality might throw fans off who are looking for a more straightforward experience. But there is a progressive goodness about Rwake that I think will appeal to a myriad of different metal fans. There's something for the traditionalists, the stoners, the doomers and even the (gasp!) metalcore misfits out there to love on Rest.
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