Xenoglossalgia: The Last State of Awareness
It’s pretty common to discover a band and immediately want to devour their back catalog. Just like anything else, it’s good to see how a person/band/author got to where they are now. Rwake was one of those bands for me. I was a late arrival to the Little Rock, Arkansas group, discovering them with the 2011 release Rest. The band’s psychedelic and progressive take on sludge was highly enjoyable. Thankfully, Rwake’s previous albums offered up equal doses of enjoyment, especially Voices of Omens. So it would make sense that the band would dig up a previously recorded demo from aeons ago. Why not showcase where the band came from?
Xenoglossalgia is Rwake’s first recorded piece of music, and, boy, is it a doozy. It features seven songs, with the epic closer “Calibos/So Fucking Tired” clocking in at a not-slim-at-all 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the track length is probably the most impressive aspect of this original demo. Brad Boatright (Sleep, High on Fire) did a good job of remastering the original demo; however, the problem is that Xenoglossalgia offers up little other than promise. Sure, there are whispers of the psychedelic influence, and the tracks are ambitious. Yet, a large part of that ambition doesn’t equal anything worthwhile.
To answer the question I posited earlier, the reason you showcase where Rwake came from is to highlight where everything began. Unfortunately for Rwake (and, really for most bands), the beginning was a tad shaky. Xenoglossalgiadoesn’t offer up anything outright bad or offensive; it’s just an overlong compilation of fairly suitable sludge. The spark is somewhat there that made the band interesting years later, but this demo isn’t all that impressive. (Nicholas Senior)