On the Radar: Rye Wolves

Posted in On the Radar on December 27th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

I have the feeling that if my geographical situation was different and I lived on the other side of the country, I probably would’ve heard Rye Wolves by now. Maybe literally, given the loudness that seems to come across on their three-song Species Battle in the Branches full-length, which was released earlier this year. The Eugene, Oregon, trio meld neo-psychedelic bombast with post-metal’s inhuman tonality, finding room in the 23-minute “Malnutrition Bends the Beak” to go all USBM for a little while. What it all rounds out to is a heady and crushing sonic mix that loses nothing in atmosphere for its heft and occasional foray into the maniacal.

Some mid-period Neurosis sway arises in eight-minute opener “Tearing at the Shapes,” but I wouldn’t put Rye Wolves in the post-metal category outright before I’d put them in three or four others, among them doom and whatever it is we’re calling angular sub-technical Mastodonic noise riffing this week. Vocals are harsh but varied, shouts and screams permeate thick tones and complex structures, highlighting an energy pulsing through Species Battle in the Branches, which is Rye Wolves‘ second release behind the less-distilled 2008 debut, Oceans of Delicate Rain.

The primary difference between the two releases seems to be that on the newer, the ideas have better blended together to create a whole, so that the beginning of “Hey David” will be rife with ethereal post-rock guitar echoing, the end will stomp to an agonizing, Khanate-esque doom conclusion, and the middle will provide flow from one to the next. “Malnutrition Bends the Beak” has enough diversity to be an EP unto itself (and some more Khanate as well; this time with tortured vocals included), but also rests well in the context surrounding, its sustained and thickened low-end rumble all the more foreboding for the pace it has divided seemingly in half.

Anyone noticing the band is from Eugene and looking for a YOB connection will find it more in the fact that Species Battle in the Branches was recorded by former bassist Isamu Sato than in Rye Wolves‘ actual sound — though their locale and their playing extended post-doom songs is bound to lead to comparisons. Rye Wolves have put the whole of Species Battle in the Branches on their Bandcamp page for streaming (they’re also on The Facebooks here), and I grabbed the player and put it here in case anyone wants to check it out. I’d recommend doing so, anyway:

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