Written by Kirk
Aiwass – The Falling
> Psychedelic doom metal
> Texas, US
> Releasing October 13
> King Volume Records
Hey there, friends! It’s October, or, as many of us like to refer to it, Spooky Season! It’s by and large my favorite time of year, too, and not just because it’s the month of my birthday. The temperature starts to drop, the air gets cool and crisp, and it’s one of the last “fun” months before the United States starts prepping for another “War on Christmas” extravaganza. Plus the idiot conservatives like to talk about how Halloween is “Satan’s holiday” even though it’s historically been celebrated by both Christians and pagans alike, but that’s a conversation for another time.
What I am here to talk about is probably one of my favorite things to talk about in all of the wild, wonderful world of heavy metal: DOOM. Now, if you’re anything like me—a sane person in a completely batshit crazy world that’s literally burning down around us each second of every day—you listen to doom metal. Like…a lot. I find it soothing as it’s devastating riffs wrack my body with some of the heaviest riffs imaginable. But, if you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t constantly struggle with consistent bouts of depression and self-doubt, you probably listen to doom either sporadically or not at all (ya freak). Either way, I have the perfect album for your ears as Halloween crawls ever closer like the upper torso of a zombie desperately clawing its way towards its next meal.
Back in August, my fellow Noobster Westin and I covered the exquisite split album The Eastern Scrolls that Black Throne Productions released. It featured contributions from both Barrie, Ontario’s intergalactic stoners AAWKS and Austin, Texas’s psychedelic doomsters Aiwass. If you thought that 13-minute slab of psychedelic doom would be all we would hear from these guys in The Year of Our Lord 2023, take solace in the knowledge that you were irrevocably and unequivocally wrong. On October 13, King Volume Records will be dropping the ultimate Halloween soundtrack, The Falling.
Now, you may be asking yourself what makes The Falling the perfect soundtrack for Spooky Season. It’s not just the oppressively heavy riffs that manage to both wash over you like a wave at high tide while also worming their way into your brain, causing you to look over your shoulder at every shadow you see and every noise you hear. It’s not just the dark, heavy atmosphere that Aiwass creates with the perfect blend of epic doom and dark psychedelic rock. There are elements of Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath here that are both blatantly obvious and yet artful and subtle, a loving tribute to the originators and innovators of this style of heavy metal. What makes this album an impeccable October listening experience is its pacing; the entire album is structured like a horror movie.
The album opens with “Prometheus”, a primordial introduction to our tale of woe. The song builds at an insidiously slow pace, its riffs more psychedelic than doom, creating a chilling sense of unease as it lumbers along. As we move forward into “Gnosis”, the riffs become more deliberate, like a blunt object hammering at your senses as that feeling of unease begins to morph into something worse. Things take a darker turn still as “The Light of Evil” takes flight, ushering in the arrival of our nameless, faceless antagonist. The riffs become even more sinister, increasingly less psychedelic with each passing song as that initial feeling of unease slowly grows into something more akin to terror. This is where “Be Not a Man” finds us, face to face with the antagonist as it mercilessly hunts us at every turn as we run for our lives, alone and afraid against this unspeakable horror. But then, sweet relief comes in the form of “Crossing the Veil,” for we have survived this cursed night, narrowly escaping with our lives amidst a world shaken to its very core. We breathe a sigh of relief whilst coming to grips with the awful knowledge that this unholy monster still lurks out there, waiting for the right moment to strike again.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is certainly a degree of truth that, if you’ve seen one horror movie, you’ve seen them all. There are a great many tropes of the genre that are almost impossible to escape; and yet, there is also a sense of comfort in the predictability of these films. Trying to guess what will happen next is like a game, and the truly hardened veterans give subtle nods to films that manage to keep them guessing. It is within the horror movie genre that gave birth to heavy metal in the first place, bands like Black Sabbath trying to create that same sensation through music. Hundreds of bands have done the same over the last five decades, Aiwass being a rare example of an artist truly understanding the nature of the task at hand. Rarer still to be able to craft a record with such depth as your sophomore album. There is an incredibly rich history at work here—a torch handed down for more than a generation—and Aiwass are gripping it firmly with both hands. The Falling will be a tough record to beat, but who is up for the challenge?