Eric Kniss – Guitar & Vocals
Rashid Nadjib – Bass
Cody Schnieders – Guitar & Vocals
Troy Schoenbaum – Drums
3. The Sight
5. Sleep Eater
Relative newbies to the sludge metal world, Los Angeles based four piece Wovoka have already been raising eyebrows with ‘Saros,’ their first full-length. Having only formed in 2013, they’ve nonetheless managed to create a convincing and mature debut. It’s not going to offer many surprises to people weaned on Kylesa or Mastodon, but it’s still a satisfying trawl through the California Badlands and could only be more atmospheric if it came with a free dried out cattle skull.
Adding hardcore vocals to crushing power chords and ambient soundscapes is nothing new but Wovoka do it so well, it’s hard to begrudge their lack of originality. Dual frontmen Eric Kniss and Cody Schneiders do a fine job of bellowing their rage out into the world alongside some slow pulverising riffs, while a wealth of tripped out bass lines keep the atmosphere nice and hazy. ‘Chosen,’ ‘Lament’ and the excellent ‘Sleep Eater’ all play with this template and succeed admirably, the complexity of the arrangements shining through despite all the unharnessed aggression.
If there’s one place they really excel though it’s on the closing ‘Eclipse.’ Fourteen minutes is a long time to drag a song out for, but it’s here that Wovoka come into their own. It’s dense, ominous and as surreal as it is heavy, ending on an ear-splitting burst of distortion and feedback like a hundred Geiger counters all overloading at once. It ends ‘Saros’ on a dramatic note and could be the soundtrack to a bleak science fiction film which closes with humanity enslaved.
Considering they’ve only been together for twenty-eight months, ‘Saros’ is still a striking start to their careers. There are bands who’ve been going for significantly longer that have never managed anything this good. One can only imagine what they’ll deliver once they really start to gel with each other, but for now this is a cracker. And just for the record, they’re named after a Native American religious leader, they didn’t just hear Jonathan Ross trying to say ‘Revoker.’ All rumours to the contrary were made up by us just now.