When I think of Irish metal, the first thing that pops into my head is not usually groovy sludge metal, but that’s exactly what zhOra is, and they are redefining Irish metal with their music. They enjoy their music (that’s not to say every other band in Eire is somber and serious but zhOra takes it too a different level) and that easygoing approach shows in the music, it’s fluid and rhythmic, something you can really headbang to. The best groove metal bands I’ve heard have come from the Deep South of the United States, but once again zhOra shatters that stereotype; they are firmly ahead of their class and I’m happy to have heard “Almaz.”
Despite coming out nearly three years ago, the music is crisp, crazy, and filled with sludge. Almaz has a lot of things going for it, there’s some very technical musicianship in the progression of the riffs that gives the sound a death metal vibe but with a slower, more ominous sound from the production. The music is somewhat chaotic but a good ear can pick out the individual instruments. The sound is solid, not the death metal wall of sound but it still washes over the listener and covers them with some pretty nasty sludge.
I’ve heard sludge mixed with doom before but I think I prefer this kind, mixed with some of the best groove I’ve ever heard and some excellent, crushing death metal. It all mixes so well, it feels natural. The sounds and music all feel like they flow from a single source, it’s all cohesive and unified despite the wildly chaotic nature of the music.
And of course, being from the great land of Eire, anger and frustration permeates the sound and music. There is feeling here and transcends genre and gives voice and volume to those that have none.
zhOra created a maelstrom with Almaz, a storm that hasn’t let up in the three years since its release. This is a band gaining speed and their sound is gaining maturity and focus. They’ll be going to Wacken soon so the world is going to get to know them soon.
Listen and support!