I’m always somewhat partial to bands from Seattle (more because I’m a Seahawks fan, and less of a grunge thing), but this noise-rock trio captured my attention with their tuneage more than anything. Let’s just say that if you dug the latest KEN Mode record—and I did—you will want to get your ears on A Sense of Rest.
“The Accelerationist” opens the 50-minute effort with keyboards, but quickly establishes a muddy, crunchy, noise-rock attack along the lines of Unsane… at least until a more experimental instrumental passage around the 3:30 mark. (Less than a minute later, they’re back to the anguished slowcore.) “Not-For-Sale Bodies” has an even more ominous intro, with a harsh helping of fuzz, but it takes mere moments before exploding into jagged math-rock territory, with a few blast beats thrown in for good measure and some devastating stop-start passages in the latter half. “Kettle Logic” follows a similar path, but this one wastes no time in getting down to noisiness.
From there, things really go off the deep end with the 14-and-a-half minute “We Speak in Lowercase.” This one has a cleaner shimmer atthe get-go, akin to (non-guyliner) emo, although they bludgeon you with a repetitive riff for several stanzas, before things get more spaced out, more gloomy, till they eventually fade down to a lone guitar playing ringing notes around the three-minute mark. The vocals, which come in around the 3:30 mark, are more screamo, less sludge, with lyrics to match. It isn’t until a devastatingly doomy crash around the halfway point that this number really delivers.
The following fistful of tunes range from vintage Unsane with a Neurosis twist (“Thousands Every Hour”) to slow and plodding melo-sludge (“Baldessari Height) to twisting, up-tempo math rock that gives way to Isis post-sludge worship (“I Go to Glory”)…which segues seamlessly into gloomy album-closer “Scratched Off the Canvas.” A mixed bag, but overall, a pretty solid listen.