Album Review: Rwake – Rest

Returning five years after the much-lauded ‘Voice of Omens’, Arkansas’ doom/sludge merchants Rwake present ‘Rest’, a record that expands on every aspect and concept of its predecessor with remarkable results. Rwake’s movement further away from their sludge core can be traced through each song on Rest, and first-time listeners expecting an Eyehategod/Iron Monkey-esque emotional meltdown will be sorely disappointed. Instead, opening piece ‘It Was Beautiful, But Now it’s Sour’ offers sludge shot through with black metal, and much of the guitar work on ‘An Invisible Thread’ resembles a depraved, tortured doppelgänger of Mastodon.

Rwake Rest ArtworkIt can safely be said that most bands would wither under the challenge of seamlessly bringing these influences together, but the Arkansawyers’ efforts highlight the versatile nature of so many aspects of this act, most notably the dual vocals of CT and Brittany Fugate. The contrast between their styles allows them both to play to their strengths and there is never a moment where, when working together, the combination sounds forced or out-of-place. This is especially true of ‘Was Only a Dream’, when the interplay between the two creates the most intriguing and creative part of an fascinating and innovative album.

While it is unquestionably heavy, ‘Rest’ is equally atmospheric, unlike many sludge releases, which can feel suffocating and claustrophobic. The black metal vibe that lurks in places provides for an eerie tone, particularly in the first portion of ‘The Culling’, a masterpiece that calls upon Neurosis, doom and the post-metal of Isis. This is an ambitious and left-field release for the sludge genre, taking as it does so much influence from black metal, a genre steeped in mystique, as opposed to the raw psychological abuse of traditional sludge. Rest will not be an easy listen for some sludge fans, but even after a dozen listens there will still be subtleties and secrets to uncover. This is a progressive and unique release that takes full advantage of an extraordinary ability to mix to widely disparate influences, and should definitely not be missed.


About Stuart

I have been writing for about seven years, my only writing qualification is a poorly-deserved grade C in GCSE English Language. I write mainly on music and literature, but have also written about the politics of sport, for some reason. I generally listen to horrible music, so my reviews will invariably be of black metal, grindcore or noise bands. Interests include attempting to play ice hockey, relieving Oxfam charity shops of every last book that they receive, and becoming TOP DOG in the world of Polish football spread-betting.

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