Zaleski / Ugly Zoo Split


Fleeting Youth Records brings the year another striking and attention grabbing split uniting the debut releases of two potently emerging US bands. Combining the Void EP from Ohio grunge gaze band Zaleski with the self-titled EP of Pennsylvania post-hardcore quartet Ugly Zoo for one pleasingly unhealthy and compelling intrusion on the senses, the release is an exciting introduction to two potential drenched bands. Raw and uncompromising, both bands savage attention as they ignite a strong appetite for their caustic persuasions of sound and intent, their endeavours resulting in one bruising and intrigue soaked experience.

Athens trio Zaleski open up the furious engagement with five tracks of abrasing and predacious imagination. Their sound is enthralling and pleasingly unpredictable, the songs a corrosive blend of punk, grunge, and shoegaze which still only hints at their unruly and unpolished swarm of sound. Opening track Red Walls from its first breath lays a sonic hand on ears, a harsh coaxing soon joined by a further thickening of the guitar’s abrasive enticement within a belligerently antagonistic rhythmic assault and heavily throated bass lures. The song is a scourge of sound but with a melodic yet doom filtered mellow breath which tempers and invigorates the enterprise and senses equally. The rawness of production and sound adds to the seductive intensity squalling around ears for an enthralling and intriguing first and lingering impression.

The following Snake Eyes Baby flames with a brooding intensity and melodic caress with thoughts of My Bloody Valentine and Birdland brewing initially before it expels a riot of feverish energy and resourceful incitement for an incendiary climax. The impressive track fires up the passions which its predecessor in comparison just tickled for a brief but provocatively incisive proposition. Its more elegant seducing is contrasted by Where Are We?, a track with a ferociously shimmering surface to another sway of melodic coaxing melodically and vocally. That gentleness is soon swamped by a voracious tide of sonic rabidity and a more hardcore edged vocal delivery for an instantly appealing but intimidating incitement. Whereas some tracks like the previous one make an immediate success others like this take longer to build their suasion but in varying degrees achieve their welcome goal.

Zaleski complete their side of the spilt with the atmospherically haunting instrumental Silent Hills and the smouldering seduction of Ghosted, a track much like their second which slowly winds around senses and emotions with a searing yet soothing croon of melodic expression within a tempestuous sonic surface driven by an enjoyably varied vocal delivery and expression. It and Snake Eyes Baby take best track honours on this side of the release with ease, each fuelled by the promise which lights all Zaleski’s tracks whilst providing an extra inventive adventure which ignites a hungry appetite.

Ugly Zoo create a sound which is garage punk and noise rock spliced with psyche devilry, and within seconds steals a march on its co-contributors with an irresistible charge of carnivorously predacious riffs, rabidity drenched basslines, and a discord flushed wash of riotous vocals as Westboro Deepthroat erupts in the ear. As soon as its roars provocatively there is a similarity to UK band The St Pierre Snake Invasion which is never a bad likeness to have. The track swaggers and taunts with imaginative bait forged by the punk inspired guitars and crisply swiping rhythms, but it is the demonic snarl of the bass and the mass scythes of vocals which seal the impressive deal.

Jawbreaker takes the outstanding start up another level, its opening gnaw of that great bestial bass sound with matching rapacity from riffs alone a gripping enticement. Fusing a rawer blaze of rock crafted spiky grooves and again dual vocals, the song brawls with and inspires the senses for a potently flavoursome fury which sets up an already greedy attention for the exceptional Jesus Sneakers. Their third song slings a contagious net of pounding beats with another ridiculously riveting bass lure at the ear; that alone addiction sparking but once the guitars spew their sonic ingenuity lined ferocity and vocals squall with vivacious revelry, the song becomes an insatiable stomp with energetic wantonness. It does not end there though as imagination grips the song further with shards of crystalline sparks and crazed warped tempting which adds a truly unpredictable beauty to the encounter, a track which feels like it is inventing itself as it goes.

The final Ugly Zoo track If We Don’t Succeed We Run the Risk of Failure reinforces the striking first look at the band, its body driven by a garage punk stride with boisterous sinews and combative rhythms, The outcome is a protagonist which is unsure whether to party or create havoc but in the end plumps for the former with unrelenting enthusiasm and devilish creative intensity. It is a thrilling end to an exhausting and thoroughly enjoyable release.

Feeding the primal personal wants of our desires, Ugly Zoo provide the most thrilling and exhilarating slices on the release but both they and Zaleski lay down a quality foundation recruiting long term attention upon the pair whilst suggesting big things ahead for both their invigorating presences.

The Zaleski /Ugly Zoo Split is out now digitally and as limited edition cassette @

Zaleski 8/10

Ugly Zoo 9/10

RingMaster 15/07/2014

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Categories: Album, Music

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