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Jan 22, 2017







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Jantar, Panisperna (MIE Records)

I do like conducting the occasional spot raid on the Brooklyn hipster scene here and there, right into the workaday heart of it, bashing my way into the party like the Kool-Aid guy, with an “OH YEAH” that actually merely signals my stomach’s preparedness to abide whatever off-key trust-fund-weenie worthlessness I’ll encounter, sort of like your dad bouncing into your room after you and your homies had just put down the bong. These guys are a small-potatoes thing that’s played a few shows, according to Brooklyn Vegan, which is all that blog has ever mentioned with regard to Jantar, and after wasting a half-hour of my life trying to dig up more fact-bites, there’s nothing to tell you, really, other than the core is a bass-playing guy and two girls, and the niche is experimental art-pop. Goody freaking gum-drops, I said to myself, but it’s really not bad. After 30 seconds of amniotic quirk-fluff intro, the band tries a low-key Spacemen 3-vs-Iron Butterfly angle (“Humble Moths”) that’s worthwhile, then a slithery Everly Brothers joint that has sitar at a nearly appropriate place (“Saint Margaret of Antioch,” which boasts the longest skronk-ringout you’ve heard in at least a week). I’ve decided I don’t mind it — there’s probably a million bands in the outer boroughs that sound like this, but this one is mine. A — Eric W. Saeger





Zao, The Well-Intentioned Virus (Observed/Observer Records)


01/19/17



Zao, The Well-Intentioned Virus (Observed/Observer Records)

Time once again to attempt separating one metalcore band from all the others, this time without having unimpeachable intelligence on Zao’s current religious-freak status, being that the entire band — repeat, the entire band — that appeared on the first Zao album (which history says is a Christian-metalcore thing) is long gone. I don’t want to beat that point into the ground, as it’s likely just shtick to begin with, but latest singer Daniel Weydant is supposedly Christian, so let’s leave it at that. Despite having a complete overhaul in personnel, conventional wisdom says that their current sound is basically the same as it was when the band launched in 1993, so, to be safe, I went back to their second LP, The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation, which had lots of nifty elements, including brain-damaged Limp Bizkit stomp, some emo-core and plenty of standard death-metal gruel. To me, this new stuff sounds different, beginning with leadoff track “The Weeping Vessel” and “Broken Pact Rules” — there’s actually mid-tempo doom-metal riffage in there, underneath all the messy black-metal yowling and frenetic fuzz. No, I don’t love these guys the way I love Baroness and Meshuggah, but yeah, they offer a nice, safe goat-demon harbor if you’re on a metal tangent. A- 





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