Matador - Zoroaster (2010)
Matador - Zoroaster(2010)
Sludge Metal / Doom Metal / Psychedlia
I don’t know what they’ve got in the water there in Georgia, but it seems like the state is quickly becoming to sludge metal what California was to thrash metal in the ’80s. It started with Mastodon, then Baroness, and now with Kylesa charging in, leading the horde, and usually with this band, Zoroaster by their side. It's nice to see at this day and age, where the internet has lead to us being more connected then ever, that regional scenes still exist. And let me tell you, whatever IS in the local water, Zoroaster guys got a good extra dose of it.
"Or maybe rather it's in the air..."
Zoroaster don’t particularly sound much like Kylesa. It’s still sludge obviously, but whereas Kylesa had a very apparent hardcore punk influence, Zoroaster have a very obvious stoner and psychedelic influence. In particular, I actually hear quite a few Pink Floyd-type things going on here, such as low, meditatively chanted lyrics. These tend to sync up perfectly with the delay- and reverb-saturated bass and guitars, sometimes becoming incomprehensible from each other. This works to create a beautiful, ethereal soundscape along with the thankfully complimentary eastern-styled drumming. The songs that don’t sound like a hardcore meditative session in an opium den are straight up slugfests of low riffs, viciously whispered (I couldn’t think of another way to describe it) vocals, and beaten drums accordingly. For the most part on Matador, they tend to structure around starting some sort of ethereal riffs and leads, and then break into the cleaner just straight-up sludge, finally just throwing throw everything into a pot together and continuing from there.
Lyrically, the album tends to centre around a variety of things from magic to depression, drugs, etc. It’s kind of hard to give an exact explanation or understanding because the lyrics are somewhat hard to decipher I couldn’t find any lyrics for this album on the net, so let me tell you that that if you’re desperate to figure out what the they’re talking about you’re going to be out of luck. Mood - and atmosphere - wise...wow, you’re in for a treat. In a sense this band is comparable to the band Om, in that there’s this almost religious, chant-like feel to their mood. But where Om achieve it using eastern-sounding prayer, Zoroaster use lots and lots of feedback, delay, and reverb to almost cancel the chaos and dissonance of each other into atmospheric equilibrium. And although it doesn’t feel evil, it does sound quite ominous.
Zoroaster(From Left: Dan Schlan, Mike Morris, Will Fiore) Enjoying the, er, Air.
Whereas Kylesa tend to start with some post-rocky-sounding bits and then immediately drop them for balls-out sludge, maybe at some point using it for a conclusive melodic bit, Zoroaster are constantly utilizing their effects to full potential, helping to create an almost drug-induced cousin to post-metal, in that it’s vital to their atmosphere. In the end, I think Zoroaster have the potential to further and perfect their sound, and on Matador I think they’ve done an awesome job in pushing the boundaries of sludge in different ways other than “post-” ideas. All in all it’s a solid sludge output and if you like anything from the other Georgia bands this one’s a must. 8/10
Best Tracks: D.N.R, Odyssey, Firewater, Old World, Odyssey II, Matador