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Rwake - Xenoglossalgia: The Last Stage Of Awareness (Reissue)

Xenoglossalgia: The Last Stage Of Awareness (Reissue)
by H.P. Buttcraft at 20 February 2015, 10:22 AM

Oh boy! RWAKE have released some new music! RWAKE, in case you haven’t heard by now, are an unbelievably good sludge metal band from Little Rock, Arkansas. They have come out with albums like “Rest”, “Hell Is A Door To The Sun” and “Voices of Omens” that were jaw-droppingly good and its’ your duty to go listen to those albums as soon as you can if you haven’t heard them by now.

But the deception from Relapse Records is that this is a new RWAKE record when, in fact, this is a repackaged demo, the band’s first one from 1998 at that. Even the band confesses, these songs are not RWAKE’s moments they’re the most proud with. There are even some instances on these songs where it all seems disorganized and too symphonic. But nevertheless, this demo was hard to get a hold on for a long time and Relapse Records have remastered and repackaged this diamond in the rough to keep the hype around RWAKE from disappearing. They haven’t broken up but I’d imagine it is hard to organize six people to do much of anything all together much less perform music this good.

If I could only choose one word out of the entire English language to describe RWAKE’s music, it would be “dauntless”. RWAKE make a conscious effort to create an other-worldly ambiance behind their hallucinatory whirlwind of power and primitive rage and this sort of effort requires high levels of artistic courage. Critics of the band always remark about how RWAKE have an excessive amount of band members but as a fan of the band, I can contest that in order to create such an ambitious and savage sound, it requires the efforts of more than three people that would normally be needed to create the guitar, bass, drum and vocal layers.

Chris Terry’s idiosyncratic barks of belligerent anger, Kris Graves’ classic rock and roll leads, Jeffrey Morgan’s veritable and dynamic percussive skills, Chris Newman and Aaron Mills’ earth-shaking heaviness and Rob Eaton’s psychotic landscape of sounds and samples from the collective unconscious of what RWAKE is. RWAKE itself is hard to pronounce because it is not even a word. It is a nonsensical sigil or brand that is charged with the energy from a dimension where fear and insanity and death populate. And as someone who also grew up in the deep southern United States, I can also appreciate how RWAKE integrates influences classic southern rock and blues-driven stoner rock fitting into all of this chaos magic as well.

Xenoglossalgia: The Last Stage of Awareness” is a great little time capsule to jump into that shows how much promise the band had from very early on. Taken \[out of context] from the band’s statement on “Xenoglossalgia”: “We knew we had to use our music to take ourselves and everyone with us on a voyage to something deeper. Musically\[sic] we were still searching for the tones and rhythms we could hear but not quite produce… These songs are clearly the early stages of our quest.” Although this demo may not be seen as a proper demonstration of RWAKE’s full potential, it represents the direction in which they started to head towards what they would accomplish in the future.

I wish I were able to see these guys at the Psycho California Festival in Santa Ana this summer. It seems like every other sludge, doom and stoner metal on Earth (no pun intended) are going to be there. I, for one, am going to sincerely miss RWAKE’s presence while I’m there. I wish they could be performing at that festival more than I wish they could’ve released a new album instead of reissuing this nearly 20 year-old demo.

I can feel a new album coming soon and that’s what you and I should really get excited about. Frankly, I was not let down by these rarely heard before tracks but I was rather let down that these tracks were not freshly composed. RWAKE better feed the beast soon is alls I’m saying!

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Stairwell
3. Or Die
4. Xenoglossalgia
5. Nagarachi
6. Interlude
7. Calibos/So Fucking Tired
Kris Graves - Guitar, Mandolin
Jeff Morgan - Drums, Samples
Chris Terry - Vocals, Samples, Noise
Chris Newman - Guitar
Aaron Mills - Bass
Rob Eaten - Keyboards, Vocals
Record Label: Relapse Records


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Edited 04 June 2023

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