WOWS - Aion - (5/10)
Published on November 2, 2015
Hailing from Verona, Italy, the five piece doom/atmospheric sludge act WOWS formed in 2008, and are on the cusp of releasing their new album, Aion via Argonauta Records. The band combines many elements of bands such as Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, and other post-metal type acts into a sadly underwhelming collection of tracks.
While it is clear that WOWS is indeed adept at their instruments, there is something that just feels as if it missing from these eight tracks. Looking at the influences of the band, there is a sense of dynamics that a band such as Neurosis has (the biggest influence and band that comes to mind when listening to Aion). The heavy to soft transitions and the hypnotic musical sections, and the passionate vocals have made Neurosis an oft copied band. Sadly, WOWS miss a few of these marks. The sound of the record is something most people have heard before, but let’s not take points away for that, as being original in this day and age is near impossible. However, the band looses a sense of the dynamic shifts between the heavy and soft. The tracks tend to stay in a more mid to slow-paced range, and sadly don’t feel as if they gain any real momentum. There is a lack of interest in the vocal department as well most of the time, and while the vocals compliment the music, it does not do anything to really grab the audience and demand attention. Each track plods along with the same overall lethargic feeling and only on the second to last track does the music seem to really pick up and become more engaging.
Now that being said, its not all bad in the WOWS camp. The production on the record is damned good, with each elements of the instruments being picked up very nicely. Every little drum roll or hit of the cymbals rings through, and the bass is present enough to add a nice rumbling. Again, the vocals do indeed fit the music, being a more mid-level clean voice (with some occasional but underutilized barks), with the guitars having a pretty dark overall tone. The melody that gets added in as well does add to the hypnotic and spacey sort of sound the band is going for, it just feels as if that lack of variety hurts the songs in the long run. Further, each song does flow into one another seamlessly, continuing to add to the idea of the record being an atmospheric or hypnotizing listen. There is a definite drone quality to it which does allow the listener to zone out for a bit, but does not seem as if you drone out in an introspective sense or anything, more that the music ends up being more background than anything.
WOWS are a band that seem to have a good sense of themselves. They clearly know what they are trying to do, and they do execute it well. There is nothing technically wrong with any of the musicianship or anything like that. They have some good ideas as far as the flow of the album as a whole and the pacing of the tracks to where the ambience all makes sense. However it all just really lacks a lot of oomph that similar bands have been doing for years. Aion is an album that will certainly have an audience, and many of them will most likely find some great appeal to this sound, however unless you need any and all doom/post-metal records, you can skip this for something with more impact.