Rwake

Rest

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    8
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With circular acoustic melodies and distant twang along with keyboards and understated singing, Rwake begin Rest with an implicit but clear proposition that metal is exactly whatever you want it to be, and if "Souls of the Sky" suggests it's going to be acid folk contemplation, then why not? "It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour" takes the opposite tack: it's a quarter-hour-long black/shoegaze metal rampage that seems utterly of the moment in the 2010s. In the first two songs, however, genres are subordinate -- unsurprisingly given the band's roots and longevity -- to a more '90s-derived proclamation, and slow grind and stomp; a feeling of recapitulated anger taken from a variety of sources and reworked into a gently multi-part epic that concludes with a dual-vocal. "An Invisible Thread" streamlines this feeling into a shorter time span, but it's the three long songs all told that reveal what's great about Rest. The bells and rhythmic spoken word that begins "The Culling" that sets an appropriate atmosphere that becomes even more intense with the fluidly nervous solo guitar line that appears, but again, it's all about cranking up the shifts in atmosphere and intensity as it goes. By the time the song hits the ten-minute mark, the feeling of glowering command and distorted vocal howling and slow, precise stomp is as wired as it gets; the band's ability to shift tempos and feelings without coming across as prog rock dorks is definitely a secret weapon. "Was Only a Dream" similarly brings it on home -- perhaps the best of the three songs showing off soloing that doesn't come across as wank for wank's sake. Meanwhile, the combination of stripped-down electric guitar and huge, screamed lyrics (with extra reverb) that swing back into the full arrangement gets points for major melodrama.

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