Chicago’s Rezn gets more psychedelic and experimental on Chaotic Divine | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago’s Rezn gets more psychedelic and experimental on Chaotic Divine


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Chicago has no shortage of bands making metal or psychedelic rock (thank God), but relatively few operate in that sweet spot where the two genres overlap. If you’re into that kind of thing, you’re going to want to keep your eye on local four-piece Rezn. Over the past few years, they’ve released a couple of more-than-solid records that marry familiar stoner riffing with heady, thoughtful exploration; on last year’s sea-monster-themed Calm Black Water, they blanket their intrinsic heaviness and darkly mystical lyrics in calming cosmic atmospheres. On their new album, Chaotic Divine, Rezn elevate their experimental impulses to triumphant new levels. As often as the band tread well-traveled ground (as they do with the chugging doom of “Scarab”), they also lay out combinations of sounds that have no obvious touchstones. Some of these experiments sound strange on paper but work surprisingly well in practice: “Garden Green” combines loose desert-rock drums and soulful vocals with hints of dub, and when the saxophone solo hits, you can picture people grooving to it at a smooth-jazz festival. This is never Lite FM fare, though, and the monolithic guitar that kicks off the next song, “The Door Opens,” provides a swift reminder. Many of Chaotic Divine’s best moments are less chaotic and more divine: “Mother / Forever Time” taps into what I’d call the sensual side of doom, with its lush, understated harmony vocals, intense buildups and releases, and clouds of ambience that turn foreboding on the lengthy outro. We won’t have a chance anytime soon to hear Rezn’s live show shake the walls of our favorite clubs till we’re lost in a psychedelic haze, but Chaotic Divine gives us another reason to keep hoping for a less terrible future.   v

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