"RN | XE" is made up of two songs appropriately named “RN” and “XE.” The first track offers a lengthy intro involving droning guitars and eventually light percussion and bass. It sets the stage for the compositions, showing how the two guitars work as a unit while the bass and drums usually follow another pattern or feel. “RN” builds up extremely well, showing how the group’s sound can morph from calming ambiance to powerful dissonant peaks. When the group finally reacts to the anticipatory opening of the song, it’s a crushing awakening as all four members explode with a dark march toward the peak of the song. As “RN” ends, dissonance gives way to excellent effect-ridden guitar and bass work.
Kodiak and N really shine in the ambient passages of the album, showing an ability to create landscapes of sound beyond the ability of most other full bands playing drone and doom metal. The first half of “RN” is quite beautiful and a fitting progression into their despair-filled dirges later on. On both songs there are moments where certain notes seem to hang in the air for an eternity until the song continues on with a new part or instrument. That being said, this album is worth a listen if you have patience for long compositions or like ethereal, chilling atmospherics.