Raw, invasive, and insistently hypnotic, the new album from Italian doom metallers WOWS is a gripping consumption of the senses and equally an instinctive spark for shadow clasped emotions. The band’s sound and in turn album Aion, is a predatory proposal of intent as erosive atmospheres bond with immersions of sludge thick doom and ruinous post metal imagination. It is a proposition that is as primal as it is shamanic and as exploratory as it is corrosive; an incitement not all will find a union with but for some WOWS will be manna for the darkest depths of their soul.
Formed in 2008, the Verona hailing WOWS is a sextet consisting of vocalist Paolo Bertaiola, guitarists Marco Bressanelli and Matteo Baldi, bassist Pierluca Esposito, drummer Fabio Orlandi, and keyboardist Kevin Follet. 2013 saw the release of their nine track debut album War On Wall Street, it the follow-up to the earlier well-received Model Soldiers EP which acted as a potent teaser for its successor. Each breached keen attention across the Italian metal scene with broader targets now in the sight of Aion.
The new release opens with the cold and haunting ambience fuelled Alexithymia; atmospheric tempting smothering ears with stark and evocative air whilst laying seeds in the imagination that the following tracks further blossom. It is a monotone coaxing but bred with suggestive tones and persuasive textures which flow into and evolve further within the fiercer enticement of Chakpori. The track is far more volatile and dynamic than the first yet still comes bound in restrained rhythms and a frosty air, bass and drums the primitive bait around which vocals and guitars spread a sonic spun, doom loaded animus. It is an encounter echoing essences of bands like Neurosis, Sunn O))), or Cult of Luna whilst shaping its own distinct temptation through tribal rhythms and a ravenous causticity.
It is a blend which provides the templates for all tracks within Aion, a similarity uniting all within individual exploration of dark emotions and hostile climates. Nemesi comes next, its biting sonic breeze an initial and lingering raw infestation of ears which subsequently uncages another glorious tribal web of rhythms aligned to the melancholically mellow tones of Bertaiola, his clean delivery even more impressive and gripping than his throat spewed squalls. Like a fusion of Nine Inch Nails, Amenra, and Welington Irish Black Warrior, the track seduces and gets under the skin, its abrasing beauty and morose seduction inescapable and emulated within the equally dark unforgiving landscape of Alaska. Managing to take its solemnity to even heavier and darker depths without diluting an instinctive charm, the track twists the imagination and emotions as easily as it does its own pestilential heart and funereal enterprise.
The cold instrumental elegance of Path of Decay sparks further intrigue and emotive exploration before Riwka, which emerges from the mist of its predecessor, nurtures its own dissonance toned embrace. It is a low key smothering enveloping ears though in the background portentous shadows and an intimidating air brews as Bertaiola solemnly serenades. A breath of a pause within the track sees it returning with more agitation to its rhythms and a lively swing to its gait and soul, an increase in volatility also invading its turbulently shaped emotive body.
The album concludes firstly with Hades and finally Abraxas, the first fusing celestial sonic suggestion with a bedlamic animus of emotion and aggressive sound, each still submerged in and subsequently restrained by the doom thick tempest breeding the outpour of anguish. The closing track is fifteen minutes of creative and emotive rabidity, shaped and honed into another infestation of erosive invention. Neither of the final pair quite lives up to those before them, though there is plenty to get enslaved and heftily satisfied by. At times the last song pushes its limits in time and with an unhurried intent, but that is also a reason why the album works so well overall too, it stretching the listener’s body and thoughts whilst taking them to places they are unprepared for.
Aion is a rewarding challenge which for some will fall by the wayside quickly and others provide one of the more riveting provocations within doom and post metal this year.
Aion is released November 26th via Argonauta Records.
Pete RingMaster 26/11/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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