Friday, December 2, 2011

Rwake - Rest



Zoinks, man.

When recently concert-going, I saw so many Rwake shirts, both on the bands and in the crowd, I was forced to reconsider my perhaps-hasty dismissal of them up to this point. They seemed boring. (And I love Sunn O))).)

Seriously though, every other damn shirt at this show was some version of a Rwake (pronounced "wake") shirt. Yeah, I know that just because so many people like one thing in particular it's not usually a good sign, but we're not talking about everyone, we're talking about all the people who also came to see a band that I like enough in the first place to see live. Did that make sense? ANYhoo....

I wanted to reeeeeaaaallly give Rest a try and make sure I either still didn't like it, or if I'd missed something.

"Souls of the Sky," the opening intro, is acoustic guitars and a female chant, which segues into:

"It was beautiful, but now it's sour"-- backwards vocals sound like chants in a dead language, like you stumbled onto an Aztec or Etruscan human sacrifice... the vocals, overall, are more "padded-room-type rants" than they are singing.

The lyrics, too, are haunting and yet subtle:

Oblivion is welcoming
Everything and nothing is wrong


It disturbs me, but I can't say why.

...That's good horror.

"An Invisible Thread" is a plodding, funereal riff, very like USX...

"The Culling," is an over-16-minute epic that begins with, again, an strange and intimidating line. Over tolling bells comes:

It... is...later...than...you...think.

Now, it's just a soundbyte from an old radio show, but it's unnerving as hell and sets the stage for the remaining 16 minutes: uncomfortable and eerie, constantly building tension.

It reiterated what I've been coming to suspect about Rwake: they are, essentially, Mournful Congregation if they were an Appalachian folk band whose singer spoke in tongues.

No no wait-- the singer sounds like a  backwoods, Flannery O'Connor-type street preacher who's having a psychotic episode on the sidewalk while standing beside a donations bowl.

You know the type I mean-- he's in any downtown urban area, he's telling you all about Jesus, but like you yourself murdered him in a voice normally reserved for fathers screaming at their sons screwing up at t-ball--and so you cross the street to avoid him.

And, well: it's pretty much as cool as it sounds. Apparently I was being impatient with Rwake.

"Ti Progetto" (project will in Italian) blew my mind hole (just listen and really consider what it says, preferably chemically-aided, gnome sayin?), and album closer "Was only a dream" rocks an intensely-demonic-sounding vocal that does a call-and-response with the singer, like the Bizarro version of Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett dueting.

Interestingly enough, the most haunting, lasting part of Wake is the lyrics, which would work nearly equally well as a book of poems. How many bands can you say that about? I can't think of one.

Though the shouting sometimes gets old and the drums sometimes go beyond laid back and into clunky, there's some Rucking Rool music here, Shaggy.

--Horn

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