Since their eponymous 2014 debut album, the symphonic electro-metalheads Rave the Reqviem have shaken up the world. Their blend of grand orchestral passages, industrial rhythms and beats, and detuned metal riffage has made for a full, sweeping listening experience, with heavenly hits like “Holy Homicide,” “Crack the Sky,” and “Fvck the Vniverse.” Over the last year, the band has put out five singles, nearly half of the upcoming eleven theses to be unleashed, and now we have it, the band’s fifth studio album, Ex-Eden. While the predecessor, 2020’s Stigmata Itch, may be the strongest of the band’s career, this record, shifting more of the focus to The Sister Superior and her soaring vocal range, is nothing to sneeze at, making the nearly three-year wait between records worth it.
The opening track “(0)485” simply must be their new walk-on song for live concerts, with the slow build and chanted vocals. Before long, the dam breaks and brings Hell with it on “Doombreaker,” with The Prophet employing his screams to great effect before The Sister Superior takes the chorus straight to the heavens. It’s a great way to start the album proper, as what better way to begin the service of The Church ov RTR than by blasting the doors off their hinges?
“Anti-Savior,” conversely, is a mid-tempo, sludgy number, and sludgy is not a term I would typically assign to a song by Rave the Reqviem. But the blues-inspired riffing in the verses is mechanically clean, while stylistically grimy. The Castlevania-esque bridge sounds like it may be sung by The Mother Superior, whose grandeur and aura are always welcome.
“Ofelia” is the kind of song to put bounce into the mosh pit, as one red-capped frontman of yesteryear once said. It’s energetic electro metal, with chugging riffs and sing-along choruses. Following it is the mega-single “How to Hate Again,” featuring Jake E. of Cyrha and formerly of Amaranthe lending his vocal talents. Between this song and its predecessor, you have two radio-ready singles that would go a long way to get the band some much-deserved attention on, say, an Octane or a Liquid Metal… just putting that out in the Universe, or Vniverse, as it were.
“God, Demon, Machine” is a swaggering, swaying beast of a song, with another great chorus that begs to be sung along to. I thought Stigmata Itch was hooky, but this album is full of them. The orchestral passages bring the pomp and circumstances, but all fall before the vocal prowess of The Sister Superior, who relies on the middle of her vocal range to play this particular wheel of fortune.
Just as “Riptide” did on the previous record, “Zero Solace” sounds like something that could open a shonen anime, something with big action set pieces and grand adventure. The song finds itself somewhere between blistering power metal a la Sonata Arctica and early 2000s Eurodance with the frenetic synth lines. While it plays with new tools, “Edge of Eden” goes back to basics, with an offbeat drum riff and The Prophet’s signature automaton vocals. Even when The Sister Superior tags in for the chorus, things still sound like classic RTR, as if the band refuses to forget where they came from and what has brought them the success they’ve had in the last decade as a group. This one is for the OGs.
“REQVIEM_05” is completely out of left field as far as the band is concerned. For one, they almost never play in C, never mind that they sound positively massive, even more so than usual. The organ passages add that gothic gravitas, the electronics make it retro-futuristic, and the chorus is sweeping and captivating. It’s a big swing to take, but they’re better for having done so.
“Exit Babylon” brings things back to familiar territory, with a jaunty organ section to settle us back in from the cathedral cacophony that the previous song gave us. The organ line becomes a synth line in future pre-verse sections, and will soon lodge itself into the listener’s ear for the remainder of their day. The album’s closer “Angry All The Time” sounds like something that belongs in a soundtrack of either BioShock or some other retro-futurist media, with the lyrics doing anything but matching the tone of the music. Might as well send the crowd home happy with a smile and a chuckle as this benediction warps into a radio play from Hell for about 15 seconds before sending the congregation on their merry way.
The band have found new life and a new groove with The Sister Superior at the helm, and Ex-Eden is further proof of just that. Five records and a decade in, this band could be so much bigger, and if they keep crafting albums like this, it can’t be long before the Church of RTR can properly go global.
Ex-Eden is out now via Out of Line Music.