Rwake Emerges From The Southern Muck

Aug 23rd, 2007 // 12 Comments

Because some of our readers may, in fact, be so full of vitriol that the combination of Justin Timberlake and Paxil just isn’t doin’ it for them anymore, we bring you our new bimonthly metal column, “Angry Music for Angry People,” written by MetalSucks‘ Axl Rosenberg, a.k.a. Matthew Goldenberg. In the first installment, he looks at the last-name-averse outfit Rwake.

Band: Rwake
Sub-genre(s): Doom metal, sludge metal, stoner metal, prog metal
Best known for: Being one of those bands whose name no one knows how to pronounce. Is the “w” silent, and it’s “rake?” Or is the “r” silent, and it’s “wake?” Or is it just “ruh-wake?”
For people who like: Drugs that have to be smoked, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mastodon
Most interesting member: Singer/keyboard B., a petite, boyish woman with dreads who bares something of a resemblance to a gremlin. Those of us who find her cute anyway presumably do so because of her talent, not because we have severe psychological problems.
Fun fact: B. is married to drummer Jeff Morgan, the only member of the band to openly utilize a last name.

Hundreds of bands since Metallica have followed the unwritten law that metal albums will open with soft, meditative instrumental bit before unleashing hell, but only Rwake has thought to use a banjo. In fact, few things–some piano there, some acoustic guitar here, a little bit of ambient white noise in the background–seem off-limits in Rwake’s world.

Rwake isn’t for those with short attention spans–a single song rarely runs under seven minutes–but they’re kept consistently interesting by the same ever-spiraling-outwards tendencies as acts like Pelican, Isis, and Tool. But Phish fans, beware: before you get too excited about toking up and tuning out, know that primary vocalist C.T. screams himself hoarse while the band seamlessly integrates slow, sludgy metal with the foreboding aural gathering of clouds that is the trademark of doom-metal bands like Agalloch and Daylight Dies, both of whom play atmospheric, super-slow music. Rwake’s music doesn’t zip along like Metallica or boogie-woogie like Guns N’ Roses–it kinda slowly dribbles, like thick, sticky sap on a tree, and occasionally painfully drags itself forward, like a woolly mammoth stuck in the mud. In other words: this is some heavy shit.

But fret not, Van Halenites and Yngwiests–this speed deficiency never prevents guitarists Gravy and Kiffin from shredding to their hearts’ contents. The band’s lack of traditional pop metal hooks may mean you’ll never see the brats at Hot Topic wearing its shirts, but that’s probably a good thing. There’s something mathematical about the constant shifts in the band’s music, yet it still sounds crazy, like a pack of wild dogs howling in a storm. To listen to Rwake, or see them live, is to understand that they really are some crazy hillbilly bastards, living in a shed somewhere, working real hard on making the most evil music ever.

Rwake – Leviticus [YouTube]
Rwake [MySpace]

  1. Ned Raggett

    RAWK. Idolator just got even better!

  2. Hamster-Style

    Rwake is the balls. In a good way, of course.

  3. FionaScrapple

    Oh, happy day! \m/

    Nice clip, too. I’ll check out the disc.

  4. garbageday

    Rwake boasts some sweet reaper-intensive merchandise.

  5. Trackback

    Maybe I have even more rage towards the film industry than I do the music industry because I actually work in the film biz (And you ask: “But Axl, don’t you make millions writing for MetalSucks and other fine websites?” Alas, a dude’s gotta eat, and a double degree in film…

  6. alex!

    Fucking finally. Something decent on here.

    I just saw Rwake a few weeks ago and they slayed big time. Give them extra cash so they can stay on the road.

    Also, check out “If You Walk Before You Crawl, You Crawl Before You Die.” I’d argue it’s their best record.

  7. Trackback

    Because not all the world is as well versed in the majesties of metal as the readers of this site are, we’ve let our own Axl Rosenberg out of his cage, bathed him, clothed him, wiped the snot from this mouth and the blood from his face, and lent him to our friends over at Idolator for a new…

  8. Ed Corcoran

    Great to see Arkansas getting rep’ed on the Idolator. Rwake fucking And it’s pronounced ‘wake’. The story I’ve heard is that they originally named themselves Wake, but some other band with that name threatened to sue them so they just stuck an R on the front.

  9. cstmr srvc

    i am thrilled to see the new feature on metal.
    and just to add some snark, it has taken how many “show no mercy” stousy columns on pfrk before idolator jumped on board?
    i look forward to little to no o’malley nut-swinging, and hopefully even no “weird buzzing avant black metal” hype spewed forth by aquarius and the aforementioned “show no mercy”.
    (funny that happens to be the name of one of my favorite la guns’ tracks)

    however, i feel as though rwake is being slighted through the neur-isis comparisons. they have created a mind bending meld of micro genres.
    this is not distorted post rock, but extremely black- influenced sludge…

    also note that the drummer and “keyboardist/sit on stage on the floor smokingist” both have crust dreadlocks, and the lead guitarist wears cargo pants and baseball hats.

  10. Kate Richardson

    I really enjoyed reading this despite the fact that I couldn’t care less about metal. Great job, Matthew Goldenberg!

  11. Maura Johnston

    @cstmr srvc: well, to be fair, we had to find the right person. but i’m glad you have the same amount of affection for ‘no mercy’ that i do.

  12. CliveDobbs

    @helper: Bad bot! No Metal!

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