June 16, 2020

Raphael Weinroth-Browne - Worlds Within

By Matt Hinch. Wake's previous album, Misery Rites, should have garnered the attention of anyone who hadn't been paying attention already. It was a potent blend of black metal and grinding madness. Anyone who thought new album, Devouring Ruin was going to follow the same formula would be wrong.
By Matt Hinch.

Painting by Heather Sita Black.

This site may be Metal Bandcamp but this solo album from Raphael Weinroth-Browne, Worlds Within, is barely even metal adjacent. That term doesn't make much sense anyway. Raphael has played with Musk Ox, The Visit, and of course Leprous so he is well known to the metal community. However, we haven't really heard him play the cello quite like this. Unaccompanied. Every sound on here was made by him on a cello. The instrument itself has great range but add in the percussive elements and effects pedals and you'd swear a whole orchestra is in on this. It's just him though. Rhythms, leads, everything. Worlds Within seems like a spectacularly apt title given the worlds that open up in the minds of the listener on this 45-minute piece presented as 10 movements.

All 10 of those movements are quite moving. The piece's bookends, “Unending I” and “Unending II” feel like dawn and dusk, casting shadows with beauty and subdued light, brightening and fading, albeit with melancholic qualities. Melancholy and darkness find their place often. “From Within I” and “From Within II” open up the mind and paint an expansive picture. Raphael himself has stated a mind-nature connection exists with this section and with eyes closed the majesty of both worlds fills the soul.

As we move into “From Above” and the “Tumult” suite Worlds Within starts to show its diversity even more. Non-traditional playing techniques (is that strumming?) and percussive elements change the mood. It feels more dramatic and expansive once the spacey layers find their home. Layers move in and out of consciousness amid a steady beat until gorgeous leads take your breath away. There are times even that the Walking Dead theme comes to mind. So does Blue Man Group!

“Fade (Afterglow)” brings things back down to earth after all the drama. In fact, it feels watery, like ripples spreading in a pond as rain falls on the surface, leading us back to the aforementioned dusk of “Unending II”.

Worlds Within is an escapist piece of music. Wrap it around you like a blanket and let the emotions it conjures penetrate you. Serenity, fear, joy, sadness, conflict, peace. Traditional sounds via untraditional methods form a profound 45 minutes of encapsulation. The cello is an amazing instrument and Raphael is an amazing musician and composer with amazing vision, passion, and skill. We all need to escape. Escape to Worlds Within.

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