Rwake
Voices of Omens

Where as most ambient post rock, Neurosis/Isis Styled metal seems to be intent on mixing dreamy moments of lucid ambience and beautiful introspection amid their cascading riffs, however Arkansas’ Rwake, have for their four album career focused on a more disturbing and fractured delivery of the now saturated genre, making them stand out from the pack.

I was impressed with 2004’s If You Walk Before You Crawl You Crawl Before You Die, and I was eager to see how the band’s shift from At A Loss to Relapse would affect the bands, atonal droning psychedelia. It hasn’t.

Still plying lengthy tracks (7-9 minutes) that mixing thunderous, ill tempered, post rock/doom and scratching, scrawling, caustic sections of almost psychotic ambience and blackened vocal furor, Rwake are arguably the most twisted and unstable of the NeurIsis bands. A sort of Mastodon on barbiturates was the vibe I got. Even with the albums two instrumental refrains like the cool swampy opener and “Bridge” have a certain disturbing ambience about them.

As with most albums of this style, you don’t try and listen to single tracks but rather absorb the whole cacophony in one, nervous sitting. And while other albums in the genre try to put you to sleep, Rwake put you oin the edge of a feverous lull, only to bitch slap you into a sudden, sweat drenched state of paranoia (especially the last few minutes of ‘The Finality”, “Fire and Flight” and album standout “Inverted Overtures”).

Production wise, sludge drone production guru Sanford Brown (Pelican, Minsk, Lair of The Minotaur, Buried at Sea) really nailed this, finding the perfect balance between gritty acidity and heaving menace, again resulting in a far more foreboding atmosphere than the lush warm, welcoming and lush tones of their peers.

The appropriately scathing, album closing sample ends Voices Of Omens perfectly, making for an impressive release that should really propel Rwake to the top of the genre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 13th, 2007

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