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Metal music-makers focus of Arkansas Sounds series

By Sean Clancy

This article was published September 8, 2017 at 1:49 a.m.


The crowd at a 2012 Baltimore performance by Little Rock metal band Rwake from the concert film Rwake: A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door.

Rwake & Neurosis Concert Film Double Feature

7 p.m. today, Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., Little Rock


(501) 320-5728

A pair of movies focused on extreme and experimental heavy metal are the topic of the latest edition of the Arkansas Sounds series.

Local metal champs Rwake are the subject of the 2012 concert film Rwake: A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door, which will be shown at 7 p.m. today, followed by A Sun That Never Sets from California avant-garde metal music veterans Neurosis. In between, members of Rwake will perform a musical set, says frontman Christopher Terry.

Rwake: A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door, which takes its title from a line in Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, came about when Canadian filmmaker and Rwake friend/fan David Hall was hired to film bands at the 2012 Maryland Death Fest, an annual gathering of extreme music acts and fans in Baltimore.

The festival draws 7,000-8,000 yearly, Terry says, and the venue where Rwake played held about 2,000.

While Hall had been asked to film just one song per band, he filmed the entirety of Rwake's set.

"He had, like, maybe 12 cameras there for our set," Terry says. "He had it in his plans from the get-go. At the time, we were playing even more rarely than we are now and he wanted to capture the whole thing."

Rwake (say 'wake') was formed in central Arkansas in 1996 and honed a sludgy, pulverizing form of extreme metal over five albums, with its most recent being 2011's Rest.

The lineup featured in the concert film consists of Terry on vocals; John Judkins, bass; Brittany Fugate, keyboards, vocals; Jeff Morgan, drums, guitar; Kris Graves, guitar; and Kiffin Rogers, guitar.

"When I watch it, it just blows my mind," Terry says. "It's just me and my friends and our band and this director came in and he has shot this really beautiful concert. It's just like any other big band concert film that I would look up to and like, and David did this with us."

This screening of the Rwake film won't be the first time it has been shown locally. The movie popped up during the 2014 Little Rock Horror Picture Show and was part of a low-key screening for the band and its friends at the Riverdale Theater. There was also a limited-edition live album of the show that included a DVD of the film.

But this is the first time it has been associated with the Arkansas Sounds Series, which is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System.

"Speaking for some of the other Rwake members, I know they are excited about it being a part of the Arkansas Sounds Series," Terry says.

Neurosis, the San Francisco Bay-area sludge metal outfit, has a bit of an Arkansas connection. Singer-guitarist Scott Kelly has relatives in Hot Springs and he has frequently gigged with North Little Rock singer-songwriter Adam Faucett and Judkins from Rwake. Neurosis was also close with and toured with '90s Little Rock punk rockers Econochrist.

A Sun That Never Sets, the Neurosis film, is a companion piece to the band's influential 2001 album, with interconnected videos for each song.

"It's one huge story," Terry says of the movie. "It's trippy, but it's not like Pink Floyd's The Wall trippy. In the way it was shot, it reminds me a lot of the first The Crow film, directed by Alex Proyas. It's somber and really beautiful."

MovieStyle on 09/08/2017

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