Aawks – (((((Heavy On The Cosmic)))))
Black Throne Productions
Release Date: 02/12/22
Running Time: 38:56
Review by Dark Juan
Greetings and salutations, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan, and after three weeks of frantic activity I have FINALLY been able to seat myself upon the Sofa of Eternal Peril and listen to some music. I have one of the Smellhounds, the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, beneath my left arm and making typing phenomenally more difficult than it needs to be, and am also massively managing to procrastinate because the next review in my list to do is a punishment bestowed upon me by Simon “I’m Going To Whip You Until You Bleed. Actually I Won’t, But I WILL BE PUNISHING YOU!” Black and to say that it is a possibility that I might be unkind about said album is akin to being quite sure that bears defecate in forests or other wooded areas. This punishment is being meted out to your good correspondent because of his absolute inability to follow rules with regards to templates for reviews, and in the interests of full disclosure, I am an absolute twunt for not following them. However, my card has been truly marked and even I, your favourite libertine, Hellpriest and generally all round good egg, has had to kowtow to editorial will, as we all at ever-metal.com do this for no money, merely for the love of the music, and our editorial team frankly have had enough of my bullshit. Justifiably so…
Oh well. You would think, with my work in wrangling young people, that I would be a dab hand at following rules but you’d be wrong. Anyhoo, this particular offering on the altar of my somewhat capricious will is Aawks’ “(((Heavy On The Cosmic)))” and this Canadian quartet of space cadets are musically somewhere out at the edge of the solar system and heady for interstellar space at a pretty handy clip. Yes, my friends, we have returned to the world of Psychedelic Space Rock and we are also in the realm of the King of Fuzz. ‘Beyond The Sun’ opens with a narrator discussing the likes of mescaline, LSD and psilocybin before the slow grind of extremely stoned Space Rock starts, all Sabbath and Monolord like. Obvious and immediate influences also are Hawkwind, Electric Wizard and Windhand.
The problem is that I am not horrifically stoned right now.
Immediate likes are the organic, ultrafuzzy sound of the band and the clean, melodious singing of Kris Dzierzbicki. Whoever produced the drum sound on the album is also brilliant. The metalware on the kit is clear and fresh and cuts through the soupy fuzz to allow the odd moment of clarity as the ‘Beyond The Sun’ slows itself down from what is a pretty good clip for a Stoner band to the heavily relaxed pace of a massively tripping Dark Juan for the minute that closes out the song.
‘Sunshine Apparitions’ sounds rather like a much more heavily medicated Wolfmother – all heavily phasered licks and the kind of riffs that Dark Juan would give at least one testicle to have written before he retired from performing music. The finish to this song is fucking epic, all staccato drumming and a languid and flowing guitar solo tickling the hypothalamus, and contrasts nicely with the Punky chugging (with underlying fuzz phaser) of the verse of ‘The Woods Mix’ before the velocity is slowed and we return to slow, massively drawn out riffing in the middle eight and the second break. Such is the level of phasering and fuzz that has been applied to the guitars on this record, the solos on this song sound like they have been performed on a Stylophone. This is not a problem, though. It’s just egregious levels of effects and I am behind that in a big way.
‘All Is Fine’ opens with feedback and some serious Sabbath supplication from an utterly mountainous central guitar riff and then gets its groove on in a rather pleasant fashion. It slows to the kind of mogadon slow crawl that Doom and Stoner bands love until the end of the song, though, yet doesn’t reduce the power it has over your cruelly abused psyche throughout. The bass makes sure your LSD flooded nervous system gets a bloody good rattling throughout the whole album and the vocals are also brilliant throughout. The production of the whole album is top notch – everything is distinct to a point, but it is underpinned with a kind of organic soupiness that fits the music perfectly. It is thick and gloopy and like being slowly coated with molasses.
Which is not a perverted sexual fantasy of mine, by the way. Just thought I should clear that up. Could you imagine clearing up molasses, though? Absolute fucking nightmare…
Downsides, next. Although a thoroughly competent and listenable album, I have a couple of problems with it. It doesn’t deviate much, if at all, from the musical template of Doom/ Stoner/ Space Rock insofar as there are fairly sprightly verses which are broken up with grinding, slow passages in middle eights and the end of songs, and it doesn’t have the same joie de vivre that was evident on, say, Sonic Flower’s last release. There’s too much of a tendency to rely on ultra-heavy Sabbath based riffs and far too much of an over-reliance on the phaser pedal throughout the album, sometimes all the whooshing is a bit distracting to the listener. In short, the dynamics are all a bit samey.
To conclude this rambling nonsense, then – Aawks bring you all the goodness of Psychedelics mixed with Metal, but don’t do enough with it to lift them out of the scuzzy, stoned pack of other bands in the same vein, although it has to be said that this kind of music does have a fairly rigid blueprint. I like them, but I don’t love them.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Aawks 7/10 for a competent but unspectacular album. The potential for greatness is there, though.
01. Beyond The Sun
02. Sunshine Apparitions
03. The Woods Mix
04. All Is Fine
05. Electric Traveller
06. Space City
07. Star Collider
08. Peeling Away
Kris Dzierzbicki – Guitar, vocals
Dan Trickett – Bass
Roberto Paraíso – Guitar
Randylin Babic – Drums
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