Sunday, February 28, 2010

ACRN gives Zoo 8/10 review

"The little-known genre of zeuhl found its roots in France in the 1970s, spearheaded by the prolific and grandiose band/cult Magma. A genre that somehow managed to combine free jazz, opera, blues shouting, progressive rock, heavy metal and chamber music, zeuhl made its impact on the avant-garde music scene by showcasing the duality between bombast and primitivism.

Since the sound was forged in Western Europe, zeuhl has been flung far across the globe, with numerous bands springing up in parts of Japan and, in the case of new-school zeuhl thrashers Zoo, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Zoo pay homage to their zeuhl roots on Trilogi Peradaban (in English, “Civilization Triology”), the band’s latest release by Australian experimental music labels Dualplover and Tenzenmen. The album tells a story of societal devolution through the medium of highly syncopated bursts of bass and drums, frenzied vocalizations and, at its most primitive, ritual drumming and minimalistic folk balladry. The entire album lasts only 40 minutes, but contains 22 tracks.

The first 16 tracks on Trilogi Peradaban are evocative of the thrashy zeuhl sound championed by Japanese band Ruins, one of the many projects of uber-prolific drummer Yoshida Tatsuya. There is also a great deal of avant-grindcore influence, bearing similarities to the work of Melt Banana and Naked City. Much of the album's sound is made up of snaking bass lines and syncopated drumming reminiscent of a (somehow) more caveman take on the early powerviolence of Man Is The Bastard.

Across the entirety of the album, Zoo vocalist Rully Shabara Herman stands apart from the rest of the band, shouting, chattering and operatically chanting over the thrash-and-grind of his bandmates. The final part of the album is meant to convey a return to primitivism through organic percussion and neo-folk-influenced acoustic guitar arrangements that bring a calm ending to an otherwise frenzied album.

Trilogi Peradaban is an excellent, operatic take on neo-tribalism that makes a provocative statement, melding grindcore, folk and contemporary zeuhl sounds to convey a theme of societal collapse into a primal state of simplicity." 8/10 - Aaron Vilk

Have a listen

available here

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