RWAKE- Voices Of Omens (Relapse Records)
Once in a great while, you discover a band out of nowhere that makes you reassess and reaffirm how you look at the world, a band that so aptly captures the human condition by translating pure emotion into sound. RWAKE became one of these bands for me after I heard their latest album Voices Of Omens
. I have since acquired their entire catalog, and can say with full confidence that they are one of the most important bands in my life. It's really difficult to describe music that transcends basic aural pleasure and becomes almost ingrained in a person's psyche, but we all know the feeling I'm sure. That's not to say RWAKE are anywhere near the realm of an IRON MAIDEN or RUSH, or even a JUDAS PRIEST or ANTHRAX, for me; however their music and this album in particular has had a distinct and powerful effect on my life, thus no further criteria is needed for me to include among the list of bands that I absolutely love. Anyways enough with the blathering intro, onto the music.
Imagine taking an acid trip in the backwoods of Arkansas with EYEHATEGOD playing in the background. That's kind of what this album is like. One of the few albums that I can accurately assess as being 'scary', Voices Of Omens
is just one insanely twisted journey, and the main reason its so effective is because its so firmly rooted in real life. For all the spacey, drug-induced paranoid rambling, there is something positively harrowing about this album and RWAKE's music in general, something that gets to the heart of human nature (and perhaps more specifically how people get when they live in the self-proclaimed "asshole of the United States" and do way too many drugs in an effort to escape the suffocating boredom of their life). EYEHATEGOD were the original sludge metal band to capture the essence of America's decrepit urban underbelly, but I have yet to hear another band so perfectly capture the feelings of profound emptiness and disillusionment within the aesthetics of American sludge metal. To more specifically characterize RWAKE's music I would say its a mixture of psychedelic, sludge, doom, and heavy metal. One of the most amazing things that really sets RWAKE apart musically is how they implement a classic metal-sounding twin guitar melody approach in the context of sludge, it sounds totally unique and rad as hell. Also the two vocalists are amazing, one is a guy who does both growls and singing vocals and then a girl who has just an incredible scream unlike any I have ever heard before, more hair-raising than any black metal howl I've ever heard. Everything about Voices Of Omens
fits together perfectly, and weighing this against their older works I'd say its probably their best album. The production job (handled by the master in Sanford Parker) is a big step up from anything they've done previously, which really helps because there's lots of subtle atmospheric elements that really get brought out nicely. Voices Of Omens
is a raw, unbridled piece of art filled with an immense amount of depth, especially amazing considering this is being delivered essentially by a bunch of back country hicks.
After a short and perfect acoustic guitar/banjo guitar "Intro" track, Voices Of Omens
begins with an absolute mammoth in the 9-minute opus "The Finality." Lyrically this song has meant a lot for me over the months since I've had the album, and musically its just a stunning composition. The song ends with one of the best quotes taken from a movie I've ever heard as well (I won't spoil it), and it serves as a sort of lead in to the next track, "Crooked Rivers." The rest of the album is just more brilliance, from the incredible intro buildup to "Leviticus", to the leads in "Of Grievous Abominations", to the haunting acoustics in "Fire and Flight", I cannot rave about this enough.
Chilling, stark, beautiful, epic, real.......please just get Voices Of Omens