Zillah - _Substitute for a Catastrophe_
(Retribute Records, 2006)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7 out of 10)
Technicality is never easy to incorporate properly into metal. Bands going for an overtly technical sound somehow give me the impression that I'm wasting my time, but that is not the case with Zillah. Their obscurity within the metal scene is matched only by their talent. This self-proclaimed dissonant metal band comes from cold and rainy Edinburgh, Scotland and their debut album _Substitute for a Catastrophe_ is a concentrated shot of what the future of this Scotch bunch might be like. Zillah's metal is sharp, unbridled and abrasive.

The eight tracks barely add up to twenty-nine minutes but none of them gets tedious, even the relentless six minute long "The Ghost That Walks". The opening and closing cuts "Gods Anger (I Expire)" and "Gods Anger (Renewal)" fire away from the first second without dressing up for anyone, indifferent to any scripture regarding song structure. "Standing Next to Normal" would probably be the highest from this record to register as a 'normal' track. That's because of its steady first minute and because the bass guitar was actually audible at some point, but they didn't keep things within the margins with this one either from the second minute on.

The drumming on "Greed as the Antichrist" reminds me of Mastodon's drummer Brann Dailor on the _Remission_ album. It knows almost no beats and doesn't leave the snare drum in peace for even a split second. The approach is certainly not unique, but it is challenging and on this occasion, Zillah manage to pull it off. "Nailed to the Wall" is a deft example of how well can the drums lead a track into and out of transitions without sounding like a halfhearted attempt at a drum solo.

_Substitute for a Catastrophe_ is an engaging listen that will keep you on your toes for a little under thirty minutes. It's not a long play time, but it shows just how passionate, atonal and dissonant this band is. Zillah are indeed a very promising act.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/zillahnoise

(article published 7/3/2010)


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