REZN: Burden [Album Review]

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Sargent House [2024]

Album Overview: REZN, a band from Chicago, comprises Rob McWilliams (vocals, guitar), Phil Cangelosi (bass), Patrick Dunn (drums), and Spencer Ouellette (synth/saxophone). Known for their deep, immersive sound, they have independently released four albums and gained a dedicated following in the international heavy psych scene. Their latest album, Burden, marks their debut with the Sargent House label. Burden is a conceptually intense album that explores darker and more oppressive themes compared to its predecessor, Solace. Recorded simultaneously with Solace in July 2021, Burden emphasizes a more aggressive sound, both in terms of musical composition and emotional tone. REZN have perfected their own heavy style complete with some injected saxophone. They are band that fits right in with their contemporaries of this genre and can bring the heavy psych with the best of them!

Musical Style: REZN blends elements of underground metal, psychedelia, prog rock, and shoegaze. Their music features heavy riffs, powerful percussion, and a mix of discordant and harmonious textures, creating a rich, multifaceted sound.

Evolution of Sound: From their debut Let It Burn to Burden, REZN has continuously expanded their musical boundaries. Initially focused on creating atmospheric and dreamlike soundscapes, their later work, including Burden, shifts towards more intense, riff-driven compositions while maintaining a balance of force and ethereal elements.

Artists with Similar Fire: REZN’s sound can be compared to the heavy, psychedelic rock sound of SLIFT and Dead Meadow, the jam filled heavy riffs and psychedelic overtones of Earthless, and combining progressive rock, stoner metal, and psychedelic influences like Elder. They share a goal with all these bands for creating expansive, immersive audio experiences.

Pivotal Tracks: The lead single “Chasm” stands out as a significant track on Burden, embodying the album’s intense and claustrophobic atmosphere. The song culminates in a powerful finale featuring a striking guitar solo by Mike Sullivan from Russian Circles. “Collapse” stands out for its ability to combine ethereal beauty with intense heaviness, reflecting the album’s broader emotional spectrum. “Indigo,” the opening track of Burden, sets the tone for the album with its powerful blend of forceful rhythms and intricate melodies. The rhythm section, featuring bassist Phil Cangelosi and drummer Patrick Dunn, delivers a commanding, metal-like intensity, laying a concrete foundation for the album.

Lyrical Strength: Burden explores themes of existential descent and entrapment, using vivid imagery and evocative narratives. The lyrics convey a sense of inescapable decline and mounting pressure, enhancing the album’s overall sense of urgency and intensity.

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Thomas Wilde

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