ARTIST: THE WELL RUNS RED
TITLE: ALONE WE WITHER
WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
The mysterious and somewhat secretive Bristol based artist The Well Runs Red attracted attention with singles ‘The Well’ and ‘Nothing New’ last year and has now released his debut 11-track album ‘Alone We Wither’. It’s pretty hard to describe his music but if you’ve ever listened to the likes of Ghostemane, SCARLXRD, Twiztid, Death Spells or Marilyn Manson you might get a vague idea of what to expect. It’s rap, it’s hip hop, it’s metal, it’s hardcore, it’s industrial, it’s horrorcore, it’s post-punk, it’s…a little bit of everything blended into an evil, heavy sound that you wouldn’t want to play to your mother.
The spoken word and sung vocals are heavily drenched in eerie echo and effects, giving a futuristic, digital hardcore and industrial kind of vibe. The screaming style and choice of melodies for the screamed sections has some obvious metalcore influences. And in the rapping and beats you can hear traditional trap styles. Some call it trap-metal. Some call it alternative rap. Whatever it is, it’s heavy, and it’s an auditory onslaught. RIP headphone users.
“a little bit of everything blended into an evil, heavy sound”
The album opens up with ‘It Dances In Your Eye’, one of the two main singles that’s been put out so far. Beginning with some deep, fuzzy synthesized bass leading into a tinkling, haunting piano lick, it’s clear from the offset we’re in different territory. When the vocals eventually come in, its wish a harsh scream which gives way to a low, growled, spoken word verse, a staple sound throughout the record. Take a dip into YouTube and you’ll find the freaky “video” for ‘It Dances In Your Eye’. The word “video” is in inverted commas here because the entire thing consists of TWRR staring creepily into the camera while he pours a cup of tea from a pot over and over again. It’s mesmerising and freaky, and somehow manages to make the song even more disturbing than it was previously. This is uncomfortable music in the best way possible.
The bouncy and slightly more upbeat ‘Machete’ is the other main single off the album, with a video recorded in a live environment showing the kinds of reactions TWRR has been getting from crowds. It’s a wild pit-worthy anthem with a trap type beat and riff underneath and aggro screams over the top, TWRR yelling “machete machete” over and over again like his life depends on it before dropping out to the a sung middle section with an eerie melody line.
The tagline for the album is “alone we wither, together we bloom” suggesting a deeper meaning and purpose behind the songs and indeed, every track on this record is burning with passion, aggression and pain, both in the lyrics and in the delivery. The vocals drift between screams, raps and singing, all done with masterful control and heaps of echo. ‘Amalgamation 1’ is the softest, prettiest song on the collection, dipping the pace with some soaring orchestral type synths, a perfect middle song before leading into ‘Amalgamation 2’. This is the shortest track on the record, leaning on simplicity with its stripped back drum beat and relentless screams over the top, a satisfying fuzz bassline coming in near the end.
It will be interesting to see how TWRR develops and hones his craft to find his own niche within this very specific genre. With a recent resurgence in interest in rap music from the rock and alternative community though, it seems as though The Well Runs Red has come at the right time. The album won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it will hopefully find its audience and stay the course. It certainly has the potential to.