donderdag 13 juli 2023

Aawks / Aiwass – The Eastern Scrolls

Aawks / Aiwass – The Eastern Scrolls
Black Throne Productions – 2023
Rock, Metal, Stoner, Doom, Psych
Rated: ****

We thoroughly loved Wayward Gods, but never got around to writing something about that damn fine Aiwass release. We did profess our love for (Heavy On The Cosmic) by Aawks though. So, I hope we can be forgiven for missing out on jotting down some words about Wayward Gods, which brought all the heavy riffing you could want, that gloomy doom approach for rhythms and that occult touch to make it all blood curdling and unsettling. But as both bands teamed up for a split album, we sort of hope to make up for it by mentioning their split album called The Eastern Scrolls. A concept album that explores the life and legend of Russian mystic Madame Helena Blavatsky. A woman who enjoyed a diverse career as a circus horse rider, a professional pianist, a business woman, and a spiritualist, Madame Helena Blavatsky is best known as one of the founders of Theosophy, a spiritual movement based in the ancient tradition of occultism, and the esoteric doctrines of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism. So, the perfect subject for both bands. Starting off the split is Aawks with the fourteen-and-a-half-minute long track 1831. The year in which Madame Helena Blavatsky was born. A track much denser and doomier than what was served on (Heavy On The Cosmic), but still retains that cosmic touch, much indebted to the soaring vocal lines. And then as that doom gets louder and slowly distorts towards an explosion, it unexpectedly turns into this psychedelic folk inspired esoteric and highly atmospheric slow moving narrative. A bit like you are suddenly stuck inside a painting by Konstantin Korovin or Konstantin Gorbatov, shimmering impressionistic mirroring, that seems to obscure the hymn in her honor, although the ending segment is not only ghostly, but harrowing, eerie and the stuff of nightmares. Aiwass follows this with their track The Unholy Books, seeming to answer the question you had about what you were hearing at the end of 1831, those summoned spirits, that evil energy. A guitar that sounds like a ripple in an underground pool, slowly casting shadows through orphic vocals and those lumbering drums, as if the boat you are in passes along rows and rows of columns in a deep and hidden cistern. That gets loud and opens up, after the two-and-a-half-minute mark, turning it all into a gigantic and doom clad basilica. But that flow, that watery and quicksilver atmosphere endures and permeates the entire track. Even after the eight-minute mark, when the flowing guitar gets submerged by riffs and a more distorted drift. And then it drifts, ever more grandiose, until that final note that dies away. Leaving you alone with your thoughts, The Unholy Books opened in front of you and all the candles that have all turned to wax… As have I, for these two bands and their split album: The Eastern Scrolls…  


(Written by JK)

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