Label: HG Fact
Release Type: Full Length, CD
Genre: Atmospheric Sludge
Displaying a powerfully raw and visceral sound, Japan's Zenocide explore heaviness and what sounds like the shambling abyss with their first full length aptly titled Zenocide. Slow and heavy is the name of the game, heavy pounding drums and constant cymbal crashes tied to thick and heavy down tuned guitars which barely ever play anything distinguishable all beneath horrifying vocals create a trash compactor of noise that seems overwhelming upon first listen.
The first track is a rough start as you cannot tell if this is how the recording actually is, or if it's just some effect to make the music a lot lower and muddier than it is; thankfully it's the latter. As stated earlier, the guitars really add atmosphere by playing a haze of notes that are almost indistinguishable, which allows the keyboards and vocals to carry each song and be the focal point.
Wheras Exit and Thrid almost sound like Xasthur covering Corrupted, the rest of the tracks remind me a lot more of the typical slow and heavy-as-hell sludge style of Grief or Corrupted. The lack of keyboards also helps hide the Xasthur comparison.
A lot of the time the guitars buzz or hum in the background. The perfect example of this is on the track Third which sounds a lot like an ambient depressive black metal band; y'know the type with a wall of guitar fuzz, slow plodding drums and tortured vocals and the main melody coming from ethereal Xasthur like keyboards. In fact, I might go as far to say if you'd call a lot of Xasthur's stuff black metal, then this could qualify as black metal too. These are actually my favorite portions of the album, they're very haunting and parried with the vocals, very powerful.
Zenocide seems like one of those bands that carry such a powerful low end sound and lots of feedback that seeing them live might be a very damaging engagement. I enjoy the more atmospheric keyboard driven parts like Exit and Thrid more than the Corrupted style of vocal driven sludge with a very slow and heavy trudge.
A standout part of this band are the vocals, from a very deep and gurgle-ly vocal style, to throat scratching shrieks and to everywhere in between, the vocalist really carries some of the songs or sections; fantastic.
Zenocide offer up a bunch with this release, taking sludge from it's more ambient and atmospheric flirtations, to it's painfully low end and slow side of sheer brutality; as I've always said, Japan doesn't know how to disappoint. HG Fact once again catches the cream of the crop, with a slew of great bands like Corrupted, Swarrrm, 324, Muga, and countless others, HG Fact remains to be a trusted label for excellence. This album is a killer and I hope to see more of this band.
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