Anyone who’s been following Monster Riff knows Aiwass is a Psychedelic Doom band heavily influenced by the writings of Aleister Crowley, the English Occultist and founder of the religion of Thelema. Led by founder and guitarist Blake Carrera, Aiwass is a unique blend of riffing Stoner Rock and spellbinding Doom Metal with a sound unlike many other bands in the scene.
The latest release from Aiwass is the project’s debut album, Wayward Gods. Written by Carrera, Wayward Gods is peak Aiwass: undeniably heavy, emotional, and a pure blast of hellfire.
Aiwass was originally founded in Flagstaff, AZ, as Blake Carrera’s one-man project. There, Aiwass released a string of singles and, eventually, the immaculate His Name Was Aiwass EP—a trio of the most exciting songs in the project’s catalog up to that point.
Since then, Carrera has moved to Pheonix and tapped into the city’s growing Stoner and Doom scenes, eventually recruiting a few members of Lost Dutchman to join Aiwass and help perform Wayward Gods live.
Today, Aiwass is:
- Blake Carrera – Guitar, Vocals
- Ben “Benriz” Ivey – Guitar
- Michael “Opie” Cakebread – Drums
Note: While Aiwass currently has three members, all songs on Wayward Gods were written and performed by Blake Carrera, with the addition of a performance by Vinny Taubner on “From Chains.”
Wayward Gods Album Review
Release Date: November 5, 2021
Track One: Titan
“Titan” kicks off with tons of sustain and huge, massive chords that ring out until the drums and bass finally arrive. As our first taste of Aiwass on Wayward Gods, “Titan” is a meaty track with a signature riff reminiscent of one from “Man As God,” and has become a sort of Aiwass fingerprint.
By the time we enter the verse, the vocals are draped in a wavering pedal effect. It’s a strange choice, but not an unpleasant one. Fortunately, Aiwass has placed that decision on the opener, which means there’s no other frame of reference for most people experiencing the band for the first time.
“Titan” is also the first time we see Aiwass’ signature vocal delivery: Far away, mystical, wailing, and distorted. Together, these qualities allow the vocals to guide the song without pulling away from the overall music.
“Titan” concludes with a tense string arrangement—a hint at what’s to come on later songs.
Track Two: From Chains (Featuring Vinny Taubner of Taubnernaut)
“From Chains” features some of the most complex guitar work on the entire album, especially in the intro solo. Here, the ethereal guitar is as hypnotizing as it is terrifying, and when the funeral blast of massive riffs finally prepares us for the first verse, all hell has broken loose.
Finally, the song concludes on a scorching guitar solo by Vinny Taubner, the founding member and guitarist behind Taubernaut in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“From Chains” is a heavy, muscular track that demonstrates the Aiwass ability to write massive, carefully-crafted headbangers.
Track Three: Man As God
Originally released as a single, the high-energy “Man As God” also appeared on the His Name Was Aiwass EP before showing up on this album.
“Man As God” opens with the cawing of overhead birds, and then it jumps into another ethereal, unworldly riff. Like many Aiwass songs, “Man As God” relies heavily on reverb, but the vocals are pushed back so the pummeling, churning guitars and relentless drums can sit front and center.
One of the tightest songs in the Aiwass catalog, “Man As God” also features some of the coolest lyrics in the band’s repertoire, evening opening on “Step into the Grecian fire…”
Track Four: Call of the Siren
Aiwass originally pushed itself as a Psychedelic Doom band, and “Call of the Siren” opens as one track that certainly fits the bill. Relying on a heavy, ethereal bass and a wailing guitar for the introduction, “Call of the Siren” begins as intoxicating as it is terrifying.
Soon, though, “Call of the Siren” breaks from its heartbreaking reverb into that signature Aiwass twist: a massive wall of Fuzz and Doom. Eventually, the layered, far-off vocals meld perfectly into the soundscapes.
Dripping with raw emotion, “Call of the Siren” is a strong contender for best song on Wayward Gods, and that idea is only further supported by the beautiful string arrangement at the track’s conclusion.
Track Five: Mythos
Like “Man As God,” “Mythos” also first appeared as a single and was then immortalized as part of the His Name Was Aiwass EP.
As the longest track on Wayward Gods (“Mythos” clocks in at over 11 minutes), “Mythos” relies on that classic Doom tactic of “slow and low,” riding an earth-rattling rhythm section and massive riffs into an unsettling soundscape.
In some ways, “Mythos” is Aiwass in its ultimate form. The haunting delivery. The Psychedelic blend of Doom and the Occult. The blistering guitar solos. The blast of hellfire. While this is a slow track, it’s a heavy hitter—and a powerful conclusion.
Final Score: 9/10
Standout Tracks: “Man As God” and “From Chains”
Pros: Wayward Gods is an incredible full-length debut that blends the heavy riffing of Stoner Rock, the dread and gloom of Doom Metal, and the themes of the Occult into a foot-stomping adventure of droning, hellish fun.
Standout track and single “Man As God” shows Aiwass is capable of delivering high-energy bangers for fans across multiple genres, while expansive tracks like “Mythos” show Carrera’s Heavy Psychedelic influences.
Wayward Gods’ delivery makes it the perfect soundtrack for two different but similar adventures: Marching triumphantly into hell, or being dragged into its fiery depths.
Cons: Although Waywards Gods is carefully constructed in most places, there are some decisions that ultimately drag down the overall listening experience.
The wavering effect on “Titan,” for example, is cool, but it’s eventually proven out of place on an album as serious as Wayward Gods.
Another example: Featuring Vinny Taubner for a guitar solo at the end of “From Chains” is a powerful way to conclude a track, but its placement in the song feels more like an afterthought instead of a true collaboration.
Bottom Line: Wayward Gods is a strong album with all of the right pieces, but its delivery falls just short of perfection.