From Dallas, TX comes the dark and haunting sound of Rawzilk. Though it's also the aggressive and experimental sound, and for good measure, the beautiful sound of Rawzilk as well.
Trying to fit this band into a specific genre box is like trying to stuff a giraffe into a suitcase. You can try if you want to, but it will never fit. If any comparison can be made it might look a bit like I Monster meets Nico. One very clear thing can be said about Rawzilk’s new album titled Joys and Horrors of Broken Souls, and that is that this album is not for the faint of heart.
Opening with their unsettling track “It”, Rawzilk uses church organ music and vulnerable vocals to create a desperate soundscape of emotion. It is clear that Sal Rodriguez can sing and that he is very much in full control of his voice, and if not for the darkness of his song writing, this is a voice you would hear in coffee shops around.
Part of what makes his vocals so haunting is that they are layered over top of dark 80’s synths, organs, and a chaos of sounds. It all adds up to a truly unique experience (that some will get and others will not), but the same could be said about David Bowie, Prince, and many other musicians who dared to step out of the light.
Somehow I still look at an album's single as the one song that will resonate with the masses the most. The track that might just make it to the ever elusive (and paid for) radio spot. Clearly, Sal Rodriguez does not feel the same, as his lead single “Nails” (ft Filth and Joy), is about as radio friendly as Skinny Puppy. Less of a song and more of a cult-like chant, “Nails” is a tough pill to swallow, and it will take a truly involved listen to connect with it.
Speaking of single-worthy songs, the following track titled “Dolls” is more in the vein of a track you might hear on many more forums and platforms. Rawzilk is a unique juxtaposition between a potential pop star and a Portishead. He layers many beautiful sounds on top of jarring noises. He sings with an ethereal voice, but mixes that voice into the depths of places some listeners will be too afraid to go. “Dolls” may start out pleasant enough, but as we can almost expect from the dark Rawzilk, by the end the song dissolves into a depressing cry.
There is not much to say about the final track titled “I’m Sorry." It is an onslaught of aggressive industrial sound that would easily be placed on NIN’s The Downward Spiral album. It is not a song in any way, shape, or form, but rather it is an exclamation point at the end of a hateful sentence.
What Rawzilk brings us is an album that dares to be different, an album that doesn’t mind taking you down the rabbit hole and leaving you there. Joys and Horrors of Broken Souls may not be any easy journey to undertake, but it is a worthwhile one.