Rwake is a sludge/doom/experimental metal band based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The band, originally called Wake, formed in 1996 and consisted of Kris Graves on guitar, Jeff Morgan on drums, Chris (C. T.) Terry on vocals, and Aaron Mills on bass. The band added the R to its name when it realized that another band had already claimed the name Wake. The original line-up played its first show on March 15, 1997, in Batesville (Independence County).

Rwake melds elements of a number of metal subgenres including sludge, doom, hardcore, and death metal. Due to the band members’ fondness for many styles of music, especially southern music, subtle influences from artists such as Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams (as well as Williams’s son and grandson), and Lynyrd Skynyrd find their way into the band’s compositions, resulting in sounds that are often difficult to categorize. Adding to the diversity, and unusual for the genre, Rwake often includes acoustic interludes in its recordings. Another source of the band’s unique sound is the presence of two vocalists, one male and one female.

After releasing several demos, Rwake recorded and self-released its first full-length album, Absence Due to Projection. After the independent releases of Hell Is a Door to the Sun (2002) and If You Walk Before You Crawl, You Crawl Before You Die (2004), and inclusion in two metal compilation albums, the band signed to major metal label Relapse in 2006 and appeared that year at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. Voices of Omens, released in 2007, was Rwake’s first release for Relapse. In 2011, Relapse released Rest, an album of longer, more exploratory songs. In 2015, Relapse reissued Rwake’s 1998 demo album Xenoglossalgia (The Last Stage of Awareness). In 2020, Rwake and fellow Arkansas-based Terminal Nation were two of forty-six bands who released tracks on the Bandcamp compilation titled, Shut It Down: Benefit for the Movement of Black Lives, with proceeds going to the Movement for Black Lives.

Rwake embarked on its first major tour, in support of Hell Is a Door to the Sun, in 2002 with headliner Alabama Thunderpussy. In addition to touring extensively in the United States and performing at many American metal festivals, Rwake has performed at two prestigious European metal festivals: Hellfest in France (2010) and Roadburn in the Netherlands (2011).

Rwake is a seven-piece band consisting of Graves (guitar), Morgan (drums, guitar), Terry (vocals), Britney Fugate (moog, vocals, samples), Kiffin Rodgers (guitar), John Judkins (bass, lap steel), and Chris Newman (guitar). Previous members of Rwake have formed or joined other significant Arkansas metal bands such as Deadbird and Shitfire.

For additional information:
“Rwake.” Bandcamp. (accessed November 2, 2021).

“Rwake.” Encyclopaedia Metallum. (accessed November 2, 2021).


Mike Keckhaver
CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas


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