Wednesday, 11 November 2015

WOWS - AION (Album Review)


Release date: November 26th 2015. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD

AION – Tracklisting

Alexithymia
Chakpori
Nemesi
Alaska
Path of Decay
Riwka
Hades
Abraxas

Band Members:

Paolo Bertaiola (vocals)
Marco Bressanelli (guitar)
Matteo Baldi (guitar)
Fabio Orlandi (drums)
Pierluca Esposito (bass)

Review:

WOWS is an Atmospheric Doom/Post-Metal band from Italy and newly signed to Argonauta Records who seem to be on a roll this year releasing top-notch Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal albums and WOWS is no different. Their debut album – AION – is what you would expect from a band such as WOWS. Taking influence from Pelican, Tool and Neurosis to create a highly atmospheric and complex album.

AION opens with Alexithymia. An ambient/post-rock driven song that is there mainly to get you into the mood before the heavy progressive sounds appear. Though WOWS do offer some cool space-rock sonic interludes.

Second track – Chakpori – has shades of A Perfect Circle/Tool appearing especially with the vocals. WOWS combine Space Rock, Doom and Post-Metal amongst the familiar sounds of Tool-esque Progressive Metal epic riffs. It’s a winning combination as the band even manage to include some stellar Stoner Metal sounds here and there especially towards the end of the song. The lyrical content could have done with more work but it’s the music that holds your attention here. Impressive stuff.

Third track – Nemesi – opens with distorted drone based noise before the doom and gloom guitars appear. The vocals slowly make their appearance known and it’s more of the same vocal delivery as before. Truth be told, the vocals don’t change that much but Paolo sure can shout and growl with the best in the business. WOWS venture into more progressive spaced out sludgy waters with the song becoming quite emotional at times. Fans of Amen-Ra and Neurosis will find much to enjoy here. It’s another complex offering with WOWS walking a fine line between the heavier riffs and subtle ambient noises.

Fourth track – Alaska – finally sees WOWS creating some great sounds and riffs of their own. Paolo’s vocals maybe laid back but they still have a menacing edge to them. The music is played at a slow pace but WOWS still offer moments of pure heavy psych/post-metal riffs to awaken your senses to. The doomy atmosphere gives way to an ambient/post-rock where the guitars have a life of their own.

Fifth track – Path Of Decay – is an ambient/post-rock number with the band slowing the mood right down for the next 2.30 minutes or so. It’s beautifully played but it could have easily been left off the album.

The final 3 tracks, Riwka, Hades and Abraxas sees WOWS offer 32 minutes of intense progressive post-metal riffs which allows the band to experiment with their sound. It’s a very challenging experience to listen to at times as the band play at a deliberate slow pace especially on Riwka. As it takes a few minutes for the fast-paced riffs to appear. I shouldn’t really complain about the pace of the album but there are times you want things to speed up. Though upon repeat listens you begin to appreciate the quieter moments more as WOWS create complex rhythms through out the album.

Hades is perhaps the heaviest song on the album as WOWS just let their anger out for everyone to feel and fully experience. The spaced out sludge riffs make their appearance known once more as the music and vocals become louder. The distorted guitar work is superb as you can expect to hear a ton of great guitar solos through out the song.

The final song – Abraxas – offers nothing new within the Atmospheric Doom/Post-Metal world but it’s the journey that WOWS take you on. As they offer one final spaced out trip of Neurosis style Post-Metal with a twinge of TOOL ideology as this song becomes perhaps the standout track on the album. Paolo drifts from clean based vocals to the heavier based growls but he’s the one fully in control of this song as the music is built around his impressive vocal performance. You can hear and feel intense Industrial Rock/Metal sounds in the middle of the song as the bass guitar provides a thumping back line for a bone-crunching effect.

AION is an excellent and highly complex debut album from WOWS. If you’re still waiting impatiently for the new album from TOOL check these guys out as you will find much to enjoy and admire. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Barbara at NeeCee Agency and Gero at Argonauta Records. AION will be available to buy on CD/DD from November 26th 2015 via ArgonautaRecords.

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