What happens when you combine the heaviness of Electric Wizard, the boogie riffs of Fu Manchu, and the spacey vibes of Pink Floyd? Well, you’d probably get AAWKS, an Ontario, Canada-based Heavy Psych band that has emerged from a cloud of weed smoke to deliver a superb debut album.
Pat of Monster Riff let me know about these guys (here’s his recent excellent album breakdown), and I can’t get enough. (HEAVY ON THE COSMIC) is a solid addition to any Psych/Stoner Rock rotation, featuring enough heaviness for headbanging and the freaky distortion and fuzz that make Stoner Rock so fun.
AAWKS describes itself as “the product of four acid casualties united by a love for high fantasy, psychedelics, and heavy rock music,” and they ain’t kidding. The new album deserves to be listened to again and again, and I’m thankful to the gods of Stoner Rock that they’ve bestowed this gift upon us.
AAWKS formed in 2019, quickly releasing an EP and settling into their current lineup in 2020, unfortunately just in time for COVID. But no worries, the band spent 2020 writing the songs that would be featured on this debut record.
The Canadian rockers welcomed a new bassist (Dan Trickett) in 2020 to solidify their lineup alongside founding members Kris Dzierzbicki (guitar/vocals), Roberto Paraíso (guitar), and Randylin Babic (drums). AAWKS says that, when the situation allows, they keep a heavy live schedule to stay in touch with their fans. They played some shows over the summer throughout Ontario, including a couple of dates in Toronto. Their goal for the rest of 2022 is more live shows, and according to a recent interview, they want more Botox and Doomicorn, because don’t we all need that?
About (HEAVY ON THE COSMIC)
Musically, AAWKS says they draw their inspiration from influences like Black Sabbath, Monolord, Melvin, Pink Floyd, and Fu Manchu. Those influences are highly evident on the record, as it features a hard-driving style that hits the pedal from the get-go and doesn’t let up. The album starts with “Beyond the Sun” and an audio clip of someone talking about psychedelics, so we know what we’re in store for. It’s one of the longest tracks on the album, with thundering drums and a slow, ominous feel. It’s a tasty dose of Psychedelic Doom.
“Sunshine Apparitions” may be the album’s best track. It’s a high-octane, fun song with tons of good riffage. It’s also a song that draws a good comparison to Fu Manchu, especially the guitar-playing. “The Woods” is another excellent jam, starting off in a groove-fest, slowing down, and then picking back up. I can imagine the band playing this one in the Boogie Van – put the pedal to the metal and fucking drive, man!
Another great track is “The Electric Traveler,” which starts ominously with the sound of rain and thunder, reminding me of “Black Sabbath.” The song quickly picks up, though, and chugs along until a cool, fuzzed-out guitar breakdown and the pealing of bells. Lastly, “Space City” is another standout, featuring a wicked riff and some of the best vocals on the record.
AAWKS is a welcome addition to the Heavy Psych underground, and I’m excited to see what else they come up with. (HEAVY ON THE COSMIC) is killer from front to back, combining elements of psychedelia with space rock and a heavy dose of doom. The record is a hazed-out cosmic journey you’ll want to take immediately.
Standout Tracks: “Sunshine Apparitions,” “Beyond the Sun,” “The Electric Traveler”