Wovoka - Saros

Los Angeles, California.  Home to sunshine, beaches, and hundreds of wealthy, beautiful people.  Surfing, shopping, smiling people.  Wovoka has come to change all of that.  They have come to slap the latte out of your hand and break those perfectly capped teeth.  Most closely comparable to works from Alaskan, Saros is a brutal piece of sludge metal determined to break down the façade and leave a wake of destruction.  Yet the coming storm is not without its own magnificence.
Guitars simply crush with a dual attack of crunchy, groovy chord progressions and melodic, effects-laden leads.  Utilizing everything from delay pedals to heavy reverb, Wovoka’s sound is dense.  Perhaps even more impressive are the drums, which are like waves of cascading cymbals and toms.  Every bass and snare hit seem to surround you with a tangible, live quality.  Between these slow, head-bob inducing rhythms, meaty bass lines, and sludgy riffs; I reached a level of zen: a peaceful acceptance of overwhelming grief and wretchedness. 
This relationship between the depressive and the blissful is only further emphasized by the vocals.  The pipes on this guy.  Somebody get him some tea and a throat lozenge, at least once he is done completely devastating the introduction to “Trials.”  Chills.  Every time.  With the deep tone of half-speed hardcore and unabashed honesty of Henry Rollins, Saros captivates and decimates.  The final words of the near-14 minute closing track are fitting: “There is nothing!”  Don’t expect this album to fill you with anything but self-righteous contempt.
In the end, Wovoka’s debut album is a captivating and emotionally-charged success.  While Saros does little in the way of exploring the boundaries of sludge or post-metal, it takes the blueprint to an absolute high point.  The consistent atmosphere, stellar production, and engaging songwriting never left me feeling anything less than mesmerized.  There is a track available for stream on their bandcamp, where you also can (and should) pre-order this monster.  Watch for it on April 14th.  Bring bandages.


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