Zond: free-form noise rock / punk that defies easy pigeon-holing categorisation


Zond, self-titled, R.I.P. Society Records, CD RIP012 (2010)

Not quite a noise band nor a rock band, not quite free-form improv but not peddling definite songs either, yet noisy and rocking out and sounding structured and unstructured at the same time throughout, this is the Melbourne-based psych-rock-noise outfit Zond. At least Zond consists of four musicians playing guitars, bass, drums and FX anyway so we can pin them down as a quartet of sorts in that respect. The band’s style might be described as a barrage of howling feedback guitar riffs and drones and repeating melodies on the verge of break-down against rhythms inspired by old Seventies punk / new wave. There’s something vaguely post-punk / post-rock / post-metal ¬†about the music and yet it’s possible the guys don’t take any influences from these genres at all.

After early tracks showcasing the music at its most chaotic and noise-guitar unstructured, the fellas allow some radiant ambience to shimmer gently in “Stupid Gods” before returning to whirlwind guitar battery and woozy vocals in “Dunvegan Castle”, a stupendous head-cleaning slab of sandstorm scree if ever there was one. Some semblance of rock returns in “Six” and “Blind” which have a very rawk-n-rawl punky style – or at least there is some semblance to rock before the feedback vacuum hose gets set on reverse cycle. Bringing up the rear is “Apis”, again a seemingly normal garage-punk kind of track with barely intelligible vocals – but it turns out to be an intense psych-rock spiral in which each rotating loop represents a level much deeper in derangement and sonic architectural dissolution.

For all the noise and apparent near-collapse though, there is something oddly soothing and calming in the album most times: the chaos is never truly chaotic, the insanity can be lucid in parts and no matter how far gone from the planet the listener feels, return to safe and secure ground is only a step away …

Contact: Zond, R.I.P. Society Records

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