Rwake - Voices Of Omens
Relapse Records
Experimental Doom/Stoner/Sludge Metal
9 songs (59:06)
Release year: 2007
Rwake, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Rwake is another band that was completely unknown to me until I checked the requests thread here at MR, and let me tell you, I really was missing out on this one. Rwake hail from the southern U.S. and have been creating their brand of sludge and doom since the late 90s, so they have several albums under their belt, none of which I had heard. After listening to a few songs from their Myspace page I had a feeling this band would be able to craft a unique slab of sludge, and there are few things quite as sonically rewarding as that. This is also the band's first release on Relapse, so the label surely must have seen something good about these guys. Looking at the album cover you might think this is going to be some kind of metalcore, but once you see the length of the tracks you'll know that it has to be something deeper and darker. Most of the songs are epic length monsters that grab hold and just won't let go. Give this album a shot and by the time it's over I have a feeling you'll wonder what subterranean hell hole you were just dragged through.

The intro is a nice little acoustic piece that does not give you any idea of what you're in for, but in this case I think that's a good thing. The first track, The Finality, begins with some down-tuned, dissonant guitar notes that sound like a passageway into the underworld with creepy chanting in the background, which is soon overtaken by otherworldly screams that sound muffled by the depth of the abyss. It's a sludgy mixture of doom and some heavy metal elements that is very dark. The music itself is quite repetitive, though the vocals change throughout the song, settling mostly on half-spoken, half-growled style that isn’t bad, but not that interesting either. This first song stays dark and ominous, which definitely gives you an idea of what kind of atmosphere these guys are going for. Crooked Rivers uses this same ominous tone to deliver a good chunk of sludge that really creates a dark atmosphere, walls of guitars drown out everything but the slow, dripping drum beats and the tortured screams and growls of C.T. However, the tempo soon picks up and starts carrying you, twisting and turning, down an underground river of quicker riffs and drums. It's not quite doom, but it's also not quite anything else, more of a sped up, stonier take on the traditional doom sound. From this more upbeat track we're treated to another song of desolation and loneliness in Fire And Flight. The music is at times a bit too upbeat to be called sludge, Leviticus is more of an upbeat doom song rather than sludge and uses the same type of tempo changes as Crooked Rivers. The Lure Of Light also has a doomier feeling. The guitars begin their plodding almost immediately, interrupted by the occasionally thundering drum beat. This soon gives way to very slow, heavy guitar chords. The drums pick up their tempo as the unearthly growls and screams of C.T. come in. This is another track of pure desolation that will force you into the submission of the almighty riff. There are also calmer passages that are less brutal, but no less hopeless sounding thanks to the vocals. I personally thought it might have had a greater emotional effect without the vocals, but that's just me wanting to believe there is some escape from this misery. Rwake gives you no escape and forces you to continue on the dark passageway that just keeps going down with a few bright spots that are only there to confuse you instead of give you a moment's peace.

I believe these guys have really accomplished what they set out to do: create a super heavy album of desolation and crushing despair. Hopefully in this review I have been able to give you some idea of what these guys sound like, though it is definitely difficult music to describe at times. Ultimately if you enjoy bands like Weedeater, Electric Wizard, Sleep, etc. this is probably something you will want to check out. Imagine a traditional doom album thrown into a blender with the likes of Jesu and Satyricon and you might come close to the far range of influences these guys bring into this album. It's dark and hopeless at times with no foreseeable end in sight, but interestingly I did not find myself becoming bored with it at all. Certainly a talented band that I wish I had known about earlier. I will definitely be listening to more from these guys in the near future.

Killing Songs :
Crooked Rivers, Leviticus, The Lure Of Light, but I would suggest listening to the album as a whole
Khelek quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Rwake that we have reviewed:
Rwake - Rest reviewed by Khelek and quoted 85 / 100
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