19 Mar 2023 - Thorsten
Doom | Shoegaze | Heavy Psych | | Release date: 08 Mar 2023 | Favorite song: Webbed Roots
“Solace” means “help and comfort when you are feeling sad or worried” (Cambridge Dictionary). Does Rezn’s latest record provide Solace? Maybe. Is it a warm album? Surely. Welcoming? Definitely. Is it something to listen to? For sure.
The band has strikingly changed their appearance a bit, the “logo” is now less psychedelic in nature and seems to resemble Asian signs in a way. Furthermore, the cover shows a beam of sunlight fight its way through the mountainous landscape with snow covered peaks and ravines. In some way, that beacon of hope is a good metaphor for some of the sounds you will encounter on Solace - some elements are very heavy, defining the metal elements of the band. Others (and basically the majority of the seven songs) are floating towards us as if they are weightlessly borne aloft by the very same beam of sunlight. In that way, the record surely fits magnificently to cover artwork and title.
But is the music in its own right providing warmth and comfort? Songs like ”Stasis” with its really heavy beginning, strong riffs, gliding guitar lines and its structure only slowly ebbing away into something less stark – songs like these might seem unfitting at first, but let’s remember that certain feelings also need their total opposite in order to fulfill their aim. As soon as Rob McWilliams’ vocals set in on this song, they shift its main characteristic completely towards that a much more comforting sound. He is also able to give his vocals some extra bit of smoothness, for example on the second track ”Possession” which might trick somebody into thinking that there are female vocals on the track.
However, sometimes the instrumentation with saxophone, flute, rainstick and some warm synths also do the trick and spread that very soothing feeling. Or the soft touches on the drums played by Patrick Dunn accompanied with some highly effective echo effect on the guitar lines provided by McWilliams. ”Faded and Fleeting” would be a grand example for that, which also finds Spencer Ouelette lend the 3:31 minutes even a bit more grandeur by adding some wonderful, near 80s schmootzy saxophone. This track is so wavey it might have fitted on some 80s Brat Pack soundtrack for that one scene which we boys would play again and again only to see Molly Ringwald’s knee a bit longer. Brilliant, emotion-evoking memories, always the best testimony for any track, right?
Is this still Heavy Psych Rock, some of you familiar with the band’s discography might ask. Yes, it is, but it surely is a little less pedal to the metal and stressing the psychedelic aspect more and more. Sometimes it feels as if the heavy parts are used to underline the contrast a bit more, but less in order to dominate. Solace is more psych and less heavy, that is true, but on the other hand it is also a bit more spacey and krauty – listen to the final track ”Webbed Roots” which is also the longest and which is dominated by the highly shifty combination of pedal-driven guitar lines and really diverse drumming.
To get back to our initial question – does the record provide “solace”: Maybe not in the embracing sort of way, but it delivers a lot of soothing elements in its course of 40 minutes running time. It makes you sit back, listen closely and thus forget the outside troubles a bit. So in that aspect – yes, it does!