Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
With circular acoustic melodies and distant twang along with keyboards and understated singing, Rwake begin Rest with an implicit but clear proposition that metal is exactly whatever you want it to be, and if "Souls of the Sky" suggests it's going to be acid folk contemplation, then why not? "It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour" takes the opposite tack: it's a quarter-hour-long black/shoegaze metal rampage that seems utterly of the moment in the 2010s. In the first two songs, however, genres are subordinate -- unsurprisingly given the band's roots and longevity -- to a more '90s-derived proclamation, and slow grind and stomp; a feeling of recapitulated anger taken from a variety of sources and reworked into a gently multi-part epic that concludes with a dual-vocal. "An Invisible Thread" streamlines this feeling into a shorter time span, but it's the three long songs all told that reveal what's great about Rest.
Genre tags are becoming increasingly superfluous in the metal realm. With metal splintering off into wildly heterogeneous directions, subgenres dissolving into ever more complex subgenres, and bands adding decidedly non-metal weaponry to their arsenals, a simple tag may still be the easiest way to reference elements of a band’s aesthetic, even if it won’t necessarily reflect their entire palette. Take the case of Arkansas-based “sludge” outfit Rwake, whose new album Rest is such a rich sonic banquet that the term sludge is a woefully self-deprecating moniker to describe what’s on offer.
Voices of Omens, the previous LP by Arkansas doom troupe Rwake, opened with a foreboding, 82-second mandolin meditation, its thin notes hanging like premonitions before the strangled samples and serrated guitars of "The Finality" cut in. Rest, the band's latest, also begins with a prelude of prettiness. Here, an acoustic guitar line circles around itself with a slide guitar and a keyboard drone distantly echoing the melody.
From the dark underbelly of Little Rock, Arkansas, Rwake unfurl their fifth and latest collection of apocalyptic doom dirges, a spiral death collage festooned with churning Mastodonian riffage and snaky post-rock melodies. Epic is the name of the game here: Half of Rest’s six tracks are over 11 minutes long. Song titles like “It Was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour” set the calamitous tone as vocalist CT howls at humanity’s collective misadventures and laments its shattered dreams.