Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Zud – The Good, The bad and the Damned (2013) | 85 %

Sleazy jammy rockish black metal

I was pleasantly surprised when I approved this band on the Archives, they're an original act with a fun name, a distinctive approach and a great aptitude at mixing genres. Way better than the usual groove or deathcore crap we deal with ! They were classified by a long blurb of terms that rarely go well together, something like ''blues rock and roll black metal'', I decided to change it to ''black metal'' but that's almost oversimplifying things. In their words, the band play ''sleazy n' cheesy bluesy rockin' black metal'' and that's totally accurate. There's not a lot of bands that could play a better rendition of this style.

After a pointless intro of 1 minute, the first song starts with a bang. With its twelve minutes, ''Skull Shaped Bell'' is perhaps the best song on the release, encompassing the band's genre very well. The band has this jam vibe that's really really nice obviously influenced by acid and psychedelic rock. We can feel the touch of Roky Erickson, Grateful Dead or even Krautrock in Zud. The four ''real'' songs are all lenghty numbers ranging from eight to twelve minutes and they're all interesting.

When it's more on the metallic spectrum, it reminds me of a black metal Deceased. Especially the vocals of bandleader Justin Curtsinger, the specter of King Fowley is near. It has the influences of the early European black metal scene with nods to Bathory, Mayhem or even Immortal. The production is nice, not too raw and not overproduced. The vocals are rightfully placed and the riffs are natural and warm. You can hear the experience of these guys, they're definitely veterans of the Maine's metal scene and they really knew how to achieve the sound they wanted for this album. The band intertwines their primitive brand of black metal with some very high class clean leads and rock parts. All the solos and leads are quite good, it has this rock sense of melody that will please the fans of a more melodic and less abrasive sort of black metal. It's akin to Darkthrone's punk approach on albums like The Cult is Alive. Even though their transitions from heavy to soft remind me of Opeth, it's very well mixed and enjoyable. Still if you're a black metal cultist, you probably won't like their transgressions into rock territory. 

It's not a fast band even when they're at their heaviest, they're pretty laid back and atmospheric. Not in a ''we love nature soooooo much'' way like state brothers Falls of Rauros or the whole Cascadia movement but in a old school charming way. Comparable to the dark but romantic aura of The Chasm. Evolving from within their influences, Zud is an original band who isn't pushing the boundaries because of a so-called will to transcend musicality. They play their music with an honest blend of Americana, blues, rock and roll and all the good things my dad tried to push on me when I was a kid. Thanks dad.

Good melodies, tasty tremolo riffs, interesting leads and cool understandable harsh vocals bordering on death metal are good aspects of this album. While the songs could necessitate some slimming down and the tempos could be a bit more varied, the band is a band to discover. They're like a rockier slower version of Midnight, fun stuff, really.

Their blog to get their stuff and shit

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