Review: Chrome Waves ‘The Rain Will Cleanse’

As a Jeff Wilson/Disorder Recordings fan, OK, obsessive, to say I was excited to be given the opportunity to review Chrome Waves latest would be a massive understatement. The album is being released by Disorder Recordings, both on cassette and digitally, while Transcending Records (also home to James Benson’s band Comatose) are handling the vinyl and CD formats.

Chrome Waves 'The Rain Will Cleanse'

A quick history lesson for those not yet initiated into the wonderful world of Chrome Waves, they were formed in 2010 but didn’t really become a full-time consideration until 2018, when Wilson left Wolvhammer and Abigail Williams. Since then we’ve had a rush of EPs and albums, of which this is the latest, even the tragic loss of drummer Bob Fouts last year did nothing to slow the band’s prodigious work rate. The line-up has remained largely intact since 2020’s Where They Live with James Benson on guitar/vocals, Dustin Boltjes on drums and Jeff Wilson on guitar/vocals/synth, while Zion Meagher was recently added on bass.

When Rain Falls breaks with tradition by not starting on a frantic black metal note ala Hollow Dreams and Burdened, instead opting for a far more expansive sound. Dustin Boltjes hits the drums characteristically hard making you think he was playing with the spirit of ten John Bonhams, but in spite of this, the track is infinitely more melodic than on prior albums and took a good couple of listens to get fully acclimatised to. Sometimes, which has been released as a single, reminds me of the aforementioned Comatose and coincidentally features vocals by Benson. The track also tips its hat to bands such as Failure and Hum and incorporates elements of post-metal, all of which will satisfy fans of the band’s more hook-laden and ‘accessible’ side, think Gazing Into Oblivion.

pure shoegaze loveliness which shouldn’t come as a surprise to long-time fans…

Tired is a slice of pure shoegaze loveliness which shouldn’t come as a surprise to long-time fans of the band seeing as they’ve always incorporated elements of that genre into their sound, even going as far as covering Slowdive’s When The Sun Hits on The Cold Light Of Despair compilation. A Future is the album’s longest track at over nine minutes and certainly darker than anything heard so far. Although you may not hear any Darkthrone or early Mayhem style rawness, there is more of a downbeat vibe present. Furthermore, despite its title, the track as a whole doesn’t feel very optimistic and seems to subscribe to the Xasthur/Leviathan school of depressive black metal, as evidenced on Chrome Waves split with Suicide Forest. This is a well-crafted track but ultimately not one you would play on your honeymoon.

I would say Wind Blown is the most drastic sounding number on here, at least vocally and it would be difficult for a newcomer, for instance, to fathom that the band even had roots in the black metal scene. If you thought Sometimes was too drastic a change in style, then you will be in for an even greater shock here. Aspiring Death finishes the album with a gorgeous mash of psychedelic ambience and atmospherics that encapsulates the best elements of post-rock, reminding one of postcards of new zealand’s city islands and any number of Jesu releases.

The promo-notes proudly state that The Rain Will Cleanse is the band’s ‘boldest and most vibrant recording to date’ and it has definitely lived up to this mission statement. The album may disappoint those who favour a harsher vocal and musical style, but after the sophomore How We Live album, and Wilson‘s Deeper Graves project, it feels like a logical evolution.

Label: Disorder Recordings | Transcending Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills