Wednesday 8 April 2015

WOVOKA - Saros (Album Review)

Saros cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: April 14th 2015
Label: Battleground Records

Saros - Track Listing

3.The Sight
5.Sleep Eater


Eric Kniss - Guitar & Vocals
Rashid Nadjib - Bass
Cody Schnieders - Guitar & Vocals
Troy Schoenbaum - Drums


I've heard a few people recently telling me to look out for Wovoka's debut album - Saros - as it has the potential to be one of the standout Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal albums of 2015. I've featured the band last year when I reviewed their single - Sleep Eater - which makes an appearance on the album. Newly signed to Battleground Records, Wovoka has released a highly ambitious album with Saros as they look to find their own identity within the burgeoning Post Metal world. A lot of people are tired of bands copying the highly dynamic formula that Neurosis, ISIS and Cult Of Luna created with their legendary music. It seems some Post-Metal bands are mere copycats of what has come before them. Can Wovoka buck the trend or will they fall victim where a lot of Post-Metal bands have failed recently.

The indications are good with opening track - Chosen - a song that has the right amount of Post-Rock/Post-Metal duality with traces of loud Sludge Metal with vocalists – Eric and Cody - doing a fine job shouting their heart out to a fragile and broken world. It's the ambient noises and sounds that give Wovoka such a promising start as this album feels it's building for an epic conclusion packed full of raw emotion. Wovoka makes you feel part of the journey with complex rhythms and ideas surrounding you every step of the way.

Second track - Lament - starts with a more colder slow-paced Post-Rock movement with echoes of silent despair before the band add a more heavier sludgier element that has a slight resemblance to Cult Of Luna. Wovoka still provides a fresh perspective as the tone of the album still hangs around in the darkness. The instrumental work is highly impressive through out as Wovoka play as a singular unit. Each member plays an equal and important part bringing Saros to life as the band explore as many as different ideas as the possible. The albums mood is bleak and desolate through out as Wovoka don't offer any uplifting passages of Post-Rock sounds. It's a depressing and challenging album to listen to with the band providing many exciting moments for you to encounter.

Third track - The Sight - carries on the musical path from the earlier tracks though with a more menacing attitude as the music and vocals are very direct than ever before. Wovoka finishes the song on a distorted and bleak end as the ambient noises take over with slow-paced creepy moments adding a colder feel to the album. There are four other songs for Wovoka to impress you with - Sleep Eater and Eclipse. Sleep Eater is a song I reviewed back in 2014 and rated very highly but this version is so much better as you can see the order the song falls under on the album. It' gives the song a more complex and haunting feel as Wovoka venture further into Psychedelic Sludge territory.

There are two more songs to end the album with. Sixth song - Prayer - is an experimental ambient affair that acts more as a respite before Wovoka unleashes one final epic track with Eclipse. Eclipse runs for a mind-expanding 14 mines or so and Wovoka throw everything at you to survive from. As Wovoka blend heavy ambient based soundscapes with the violent and thunderous Sludge/Post-Metal riffs for one bruising encounter. Saros ends on a dramatic high and showcases that Wovoka has created an intelligent and thought provoking affair. Wovoka proves they're one of the most exciting bands to come from the Post-Metal world in a very long time. A truly stunning debut record.

Thanks to Cat Jones at Southern Cross PR for the promo. Saros will be available to buy from Battleground Records on DD/CD from April 14th 2015.

Words by Steve Howe

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