ZnO - Mushroom Cucumberland

by Steve Reynolds Rating:7 Release Date:2010-10-04

ZnO - the first thing that grabs you by the short and curlies are the rather effervescent song titles: 'Raoul Moat', 'Moist Erections'- both controversial and challenging enough to make you sit up and at least let the songs give your ears a burning.

Drawing on an eclectic mix of drone electronica, industrial and thrash metal, the songs are juxtaposed by a series of obscura TV/radio commercials, which take the calming approach against the backwash of belligerent brain-bashing tunes.

All the songs are expressed with a level of urgency which isn't to be taken lying down. In fact, if you were lying down whilst listening to this you'd be forced to sit up and take notice.

What precedes track 'Raoul Moat' is a BBC sample called 'BBC Bull' and could suggest that in ZnO's eyes, the BBC didn't quite depict the whole Moat story. When 'Moat' itself kicks in, it's a full on hardcore riff-laden thrash. It's a lyric-less track and leaves us, the listeners, with ambiguous feelings about where ZnO goes with the whole Moat affair.

'Shine on Elizabeth' continues the heavy hardcore route. Smelling more of Trent Reznor in his Manson phase, its extremely eerie, while the Christopher Lee style vocals leave you with that walked over your grave feeling and being mentally disturbed, all at the same time.

It's fundamentally a very heavy album - not heavy metal, just bottom-heavy bass awash with sharp, acute riffs with pounding drums which are simply frightening. The sound is fresh and angry, and this in none more evident than on 'Pointy Egg'. You can sense the tension in the songs.

Drawing on such influences as The Melvins and Mudhoney through to the thrash of Slayer and early Metallica, it's not an album for the faint hearted. OK, it's going to appeal to a specific audience as it has it's crossover limitations, but I'd recommend you feast your ears on it, if only for curiosity's sake. ZnO certainly have something different,; the question is whether they can transmit that into an already over run metal market.

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