24 May 2016 (released)
10 June 2016
A hard-fought life spiked with personal tragedy has inspired Sal Rodriguez to delve in to the macabre with the latest release from Rawzilk entitled Joys and Horrors of Broken Souls.
The artist spent his early life in El Salvador where heinous crimes are a daily activity and murder is committed with impunity. At 14, he moved to America to escape those violent surroundings but the images have haunted him ever since. He brings this ominous vibe to his brand of noisy, ambient industrial. The songs are the stories of slasher films and thrillers, complete with the love story hanging in the balance amid these evil acts. Similar to television series like Hannibal, Rawzilk looks in to the minds of disturbed individuals in a wash of surrealism, mimicking the haze of being inside a mind.
Lead single 'Nails' sticks to a monotone vocal which becomes creepier over time. You get the sense that you're the focus of a bizarre underground ritual with the druid-like chanting. The protagonist's composure eventually breaks down and his voice morphs in to a dramatic bellow. The romanticism owes much to the gothic movement of the '80s.
Intercutting the heavy industrial static are passages of serene female vocals by a variety of guest vocalists. In 'Feral' they offer comfort and in 'Dolls' they take on the killer's persona. Amid the distorted crashes, there are smart melodies that play counterpoint to the siren's lyrical lines.
'All the Way Down' is the most progressive track on the album taking a page from the deconstructionism of Death Grips in both production and vocal delivery. Another standout track, 'Pyrrics' features a matter of fact narration of a killer taking his victim out of a trunk to torture her. A seriously chilling scene, even in these desensitised times.
On Joys and Horrors of Broken Souls, Rawzilk makes chilling soundscapes out of the classic industrial lexicon of sounds. The album seems tailored specifically to those who revel in the horror genre. An album to take in late at night by candlelight or perhaps with a flashlight under your chin.