Zool - Zool

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Lucretia Records
Catalog Number: LU20014-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:24:00

Falling somewhere between classic, 60s-70s Deep Purple and the later late 80s-90s version, is a band called Zool. That latter Purple element is down to the Ian Gillan like vocals of Martin? I kept thinking of the Perfect Strangers album. This is to say that Zool have a thick, heavy rock sound, with an accessible and attractive groove ? though I'll admit at first I wasn't impressed by what I heard. It took a couple of listens for this to grow on me. It's not perfect, as "Cross Of Greed," which ends the album, might need just a little more work? Though not why, it made me think a bit of Black Sabbath's "Ironman," but don't take that comparison to heart, because its very vague, and really has more to do with the stair-stepping guitar/bass line (three or four beats up, three or four down) with a? here's a word you should keep tightly in mind ? insistent. There is nothing really laidback here at all; and really no time to breathe. Oh, maybe a few moments on the instrumental "The Rise Of The Evil Star," but other than that, it's dense, thick, heavy, dark ? like slogging through a dimly lit, rat and water filled tunnel, only a flickering torch to light your way (well, I included the back of the booklet photo up there just to give you a visual? sort of.) "Snake Eyes" and "Burning Ice" are overshadowed by the later tracks, not that they're band, but once we reach the third track, the album seems to really kick into gear.

Three tracks stood out to me, two of which are "Valley Of The Witch," with its dark grinding, grooving rhythm, and the slow-driving "The Eye Of The Beast," which sounds like it could be a long lost Purple track. Topically, we get a lot of dark fantasy tapping into Nordic mythology ? at least in chugging, darkly-simmering "Balder (Son Of Odin)" (which means it has nothing to do with the video game of the same name).

To aid in this classic sound, the audio mix, while clear in and of itself, features a lot of distorted guitar (Wuthering Height's Henrik Flyman), deeply throbbing bass (Stefan Edström), and insistent, pounding drums (Mind's Eye's Daniel Flores). And, an element that I truly love about this release, the tasty organ-like keyboard work from Andreas Lindahl (Platitude). Guests include Richard (Majestic) Andersson (keyboards, "Dragon Chaser") and Annika Flyman on flute for "The Shepherd And The Lamb," a piece that could almost be called balladic, though the subject matter isn't typical of a ballad. Wonderful guitar solo here from Flyman (including acoustic guitar elements). (This is the third that stood out). If they weren't going for a classic feel, we might have reason to quibble about the production? but as it is, anything "cleaner" would take something away. I mentioned the keyboards as something I loved about the release, but really there is something great about each instrument ? not really a lot of soloing here (there's some, and done well) -- and while I didn't at first, I find I rather like Martin's voice.

I should also mention the muscular "Throne Of Thor" as well. Insistent warrior metal, that you'd think just by that description to be over-the-top or just plain silly, but you know what? Nope, it doesn't. It stays just this side of it, and includes an? interesting (at a loss for a better word) keening keyboard solo.

It seems this band has been dormant due to the other projects the members are involved in, but they don't completely rule out a second project at some point in the future sometime? I think it might be worth waiting for

Snake Eyes (4:13) / Burning Ice (4:15) / Valley Of The Witch (5:37) / Balder (Son Of Odin) (4:55) / Dragon Chaser (3:05) / The Eye Of The Beast (5:17) / The Rise Of The Evil Star (1:14) / The Shepherd And The Lamb (5:31) / Throne Of Thor (3:52) / Cross Of Greed (5:25)

Martin ? lead and backing vocals
Henrik Flyman ? guitar
Andreas Lindahl ? keyboard
Stefan Edström ? bass
Daniel Flores ? drums

Zool (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin SE

Added: April 4th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.zool.nu
Hits: 1666
Language: english


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