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The music churned out by Chicago quartet REZN somehow manages to convey both crushing mass and cosmic weightlessness. The seed for the band’s megaton riffs and psychedelic journeys was planted when guitarist Rob McWilliams and bassist Phil Cangelosi began jamming together at age twelve in the DC commuter town of Leesburg, VA. They relocated to Chicago in 2015, recruited local sound engineer Patrick Dunn to bash on the drums, and set about recording their debut album—the molten amp worship service Let It Burn—after playing just three shows together. They invited their friend Spencer Ouellette into the studio to round out their bottom-heavy sound with the hum-and-squall of modular synth, and the added textural component immediately became a key facet to their sound. The 2018 sophomore album Calm Black Water continued the band’s penchant for molasses-thick guitar-and-bass punishments with soaring minor key vocal melodies, but Ouellette further pushed the dreamscape envelope by supplementing the synth duties with blissed out saxophone passages.

REZN’s newest offering Chaotic Divine continues their melding of gargantuan heaviness and lysergic calm. Additionally, it continues the band’s penchant for tying the music to a visual landscape. Let It Burn revolved around a cosmic and volcanic terrain inspired by the vastness of space; Calm Black Water conjured the deepest trenches of the ocean; and Chaotic Divine presents an endless desert world inoculated by spores from extra/intra-terrestrial beings. The conceptual element is buoyed by the continued cover art contributions from Allyson Medeiros, whose post-apocalyptic landscape for Chaotic Divine recalls the epic fantasy spirit of Roger Dean’s classic ‘70s album art.

REZN’s reputation has already quickly spread like wildfire through the ranks of doom aficionados, tone chasers, and psych junkies, but with the next-level toke-and-dirge odyssey of Chaotic Divine, the Chicago ensemble is poised to raze the Earth with even loftier cosmic heights and gnarlier bottom-feeder lows.

Jan 14
King Buffalo
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