INTERVIEW/REVIEW: WOWS - Chakpori (Single, Argonauta Records)

There is a wealth of incredibly progressive heavy music coming out of Italy these days most notably bands such as SunopcrisyStorm{O} and for the subject of this review Verona’s, WOWS. It’s always a pleasure to stumble upon gifted bands that know how to actually write movement into their songs. WOWS are extremely capable and individually bring immensely raw songwriting talent to the table. It’s a rare find indeed to discover such a skilled collective that are so immersed in their craft. I had the opportunity to connect with WOWS guitarist, Matteo Baldi recently and he was kind enough to share some thoughts on what the band represents.

“We are six people who love music and want to say something in it to the best of our possibilities.” offers Baldi. “Our creative process is different for each song but, the main work is in the rehearsal room where everybody can contribute with an idea and where we can actually hear how the songs sound.”

And what exactly is the sound that WOWS delivers? A deeply introspective and atmospheric post-hardcore element definitely runs through “Chakpori”. It’s a song that draws the listener in a little at a time with hushed vocals and a percussive, distorted lead riff and bass line. But, this is only a taste from their 2015 release. “Vocal arrangements are one of the most important things in our records. We like to keep it clean but also violent and raging. We used English but we tried to get out more feelings than words in the songs.” explains Baldi. “Some songs have abstract and imaginative lyrics such as ‘Alaska’ and ‘Riwka’. Or others we used some really dark images and feelings to match the intensity of the music.”

So how did WOWS decide on “Chakpori” as their latest single and how is it relevant to the band?

“Actually, ‘Chakpori’ is the last video we published for our 2015 record AION before releasing new music. The first two videos are ‘Riwka’ and ‘Nemesi’ if you might wanna check it out. ‘Chakpori’ for us is a very significant song. It sums up our style and our idea of music and it’s for sure one of the best songs we’ve written.”

For a clearer idea of where the band is coming from musically, I cut straight to the chase and ask Baldi to shed some light on WOWS’ influences.

“Many bands I could write here and many musical genres as well. Let’s say we took something from Tool for sure, from Cult of LunaAmenraand Neurosis but also from RadioheadPortishead and Massive Attack.”

I’m starting to get the picture. Crushing yet darkly beautiful, WOWS seem to have a penchant for the surreal and the sublime. In particular, “Chakpori” does a magnificent job of presenting the ideals that WOWS embrace.

“We like to mix our influences, we don’t aim to follow a specific kind of music.’ says Baldi. “We just want to make music that means something for us and hopefully to whom may listen to it.”
If you’re looking something fresh and intensely moving, check out WOWS. Authentic and innovative, this is a band you won’t want to pass over.


LIVE REVIEW: The Witching Hour Tour - Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM (DED, The Word Alive, In This Moment)

'You will end up where you are meant to be' -Tyler “Telle” Smith

Unlike anything I have ever seen before, there was literally a line of people wrapped around Sunshine Theater for the Witching Hour Tour. It was a completely sold out show! Thankfully my 16 year old niece and I got to the building around 4:30pm because we were only about 1/3 of the way down the line. Most people had been there since like 3pm. I have never been to Sunshine Theater so I thought us arriving around 2:30pm would have been way to early. Turns out I was completely wrong; we should have turned up around then. But eh, it wasn't too bad. Finally, around 6:30pm they finally opened the doors for all of us to flood in. After a brief security pat down we were on our way.

To be honest, I was really only there to see In This Moment. I hadn't even actually heard of DED or The World Alive before buying the tickets for this show. I have loved In This Moment for years! I had in passing listened to one or two of each of their songs. I had truly no idea what I was in for. DED took the stage, and immediately there was a moving presence. DED is a nu-metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, not far from our home of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were energetic as hell, albeit they were kinda that band you listen to when you are angry. That isn't a bad thing, I am a firm believer that every emotion needs a good soundtrack. One of my favorite songs was “FMFY”. If you aren't sure what the abbreviation means, YouTube the song, you'll get it! And they kept this energy flowing for the whole set, which was pretty amazing to me.

On a personal note, a lot of things have been going on in my life. A lot of changes have made me very sad, some of them have made me very angry. And listening to “FMFY” kind of helped me work on those ones that were making me angry. It was like the best form of anger management I have had in years.

So, after a brief intercession, they began to set up the stage for The Word Alive. The crowd began to push a bit, kinda started to sardine us. Of course, we had kind of made some 'friends' in the line who were shielding us from any real harm, which was nice because I was without my towering husband to keep me safe. Mind you, the 16 year old I had with me is like six feet tall and kinda hefty, so I didn't think I was completely screwed. But still having the six foot six powerhouse Keith would have made me feel better.

The minute The Word Alive started their set I was hooked! The metalcore band also hailed from Phoenix, Arizona. And (I sincerely apologize, guys give me time I am so gonna catch up with your discography and I will know every word by next year I swear!) while I do not remember names of the songs, I picked this to be my soundtrack of uplifting in my depression. Tyler not only was comical on stage (inside joke about breasts- mind you not as bad as it sounds), he also got real with the audience. He has had a rough two years (boy do I ever relate to that), and he talked about people leaving us too soon. This hit me, hard. See, my brother in law was 16 when he committed suicide. And it just left the biggest hole in our lives. One that I am not sure will ever feel okay ever again. And while I have had many more (too many more) people leave way too early, it was losing someone that was such a light in the darkness that just- got it just rips your guts apart and obliterates your heart. You just wonder will it ever be okay again. Mind you, I didn't know my brother in law very long. I had only met him 2 years prior to him taking his own life, but that kid just made you love him the minute you meet him. Another thing I loved about this band is how grateful they were to be playing for us. It was so uplifting to see how humble they were. I didn't want their set to end. I wanted them to stay forever.
So then In This Moment began to set up. And mind you folks, they were playing all sorts of music in between sets- and it was almost goosebump worthy to see this whole crowd of so many diverse backgrounds and such to come together to sing this song. I don't know, maybe that sounds stupid, but I love it.

But soon, the sardine can began to get smaller as people were crushing each other to push people out of the way to get closer to ITM once they took the stage. One of the new 'friends' we had made in line got attacked by some guy, and I was not going to not let something be done. To be completely honest, the security team was no help. This guy was in the front grabbing this girl in a headlock and choking her. So I reached back and got him off of her. And while I love In This Moment, three songs in I pulled my niece out of that crowd before someone crushed us to death.

What I did see of the band I was there to see, was great. Their theatrics didn't disappoint. She was just as beautiful in person, but yeah no band is worth dying to see. I do hope that if they do come back again, that I get to see them again. Because I was really enjoying the hell of the show ITM was putting on.

I guess that is kind of the reason I have tried to avoid going to big shows. As much as I love those bands I love and want to support them, sometimes their fans are toxic as hell. And I mean, I get that you get into a show. Hell, I got into this tour! I was jumping up and down, screaming with the rest. But what exactly is the point of crushing people or trying to choke them to death. It just ruins the night for everyone else. My niece's birthday surprise was completely ruined by a couple of idiots.

So this was my experience with The Witching Hour Tour. I found my new favorite band who I will see every time they come to Albuquerque! Hopefully though, next time we won't get crushed and flustered so that I can meet the guys of The Word Alive!


REVIEW: BODY VOID - I Live In A Burning House (Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough/Seeing Red)

Gritty, meticulous, monotonous. No doubt words that will come to mind upon hearing the most recent release from San Francisco sludge outfit BODY VOID. High off their debut album Ruins, the band seems to have found the appropriate root to define and solidify their sound.

Refreshingly, BODY VOID does not rely too heavily upon the typical grinding fuzz that a fair amount of sludge metal bands lean back on (not to say that I don't enjoy that sort of thing). Most of that is saved for the bass, which heavily reminds me of a similar style used in groups such as Triptykon. Paired with a rather simple, but highly effective, guitar sound the band has managed to create a sonic landscape of despair - a necessity for a band who chooses to name their album 'I Live In A Burning House'.

Not unlike other underground Sludge acts, BODY VOID seems to love the effect of having their music 'fall apart'. As in, by the end of a particular section or song, the music begins to sound broken - guitars squeal, drums tense up, and, of course, the bass continues on with it's droning simplicity. Luckily, a bit of this is balanced with somewhat faster, almost punk-like sections and vocals so shrill and caustic that I dare to label them as blackened.

With some utterly massive tracks, BODY VOID has put forth an offering to be reckoned with. This is, no doubt, one of the best sludge releases of 2018 thus far. Though, if given the chance, 'I Live In A Burning House' may capture the interest of more then just fans of the sub-genre.