There has been a wave of metalcore seeded releases to cover recently and joining that relatively strong list is the debut EP from UK quartet Zephyr. The band’s sound is a little different to the rest though with its fierce roar aligning with progressive metal imagination and post rock ambience. Fair to say it is a blend which swiftly engages ears and makes the An Odyssey For The Living EP one fascinating potential loaded enticement.
London bred Zephyr only emerged earlier this year with the foursome of vocalist Cameron Alexander Thomson, guitarist Jacob Gudge, bassist Attila Tashi, and drummer Gideon Waxman quickly unveiling video single The High Road. Its viral online success sparked a live presence which in little time was also soon gaining strong support and praise. Now a full introduction comes the way of An Odyssey For The Living, five compelling and tempestuous tracks recorded with Kelly Pinchin and Ollie Dow from In Archives and produced by Julian Rodriguez from Elitist.
The release is opened up by Familiar Spirit, a track instantly wrapping ears in an atmospheric guitar melody before thick bass groans and firm beats collude with raw vocals squalls. All the time the fingers of Gudge are weaving sonic and evocative tendrils around which keys lay their tantalising hues, the song as ethereal as it is viciously uncompromising. It is an enjoyably busy track with new corners and layers being unveiled through subsequent listens, a quality applying to the whole EP, and a personal want of diversity in vocals within a genre generally seeming to lack adventure in that department, nicely satisfied by Thompson.
The strong start is potently backed by Little Lamplight where again a warm melody honed coaxing brings the track into view before cruel riffs and rhythms bruise whilst being entwined in a provocative and perpetually shifting web of progressive leaning guitar enterprise united with suggestive keys. Further variety to the vocal incitement from Thompson and the band equally adds to the alluring but dangerous nature of the song to leave ears and thoughts firmly involved.
Cloud Spires opens in similar style to its predecessors whilst creating its own persuasive design of open technical craft and jagged riffery soaked in melancholic and emotionally reflective ambience. Those evocative textures are matched in potency by the mix of scarring and clean harmony wrapped vocals and though there does seem to be a kind of common template to Zephyr songs each creative canvas is coloured and twisted into individual characters that, as here, hold ears and imagination firmly in their intrigue lit tempests.
Next up is Gemini where, with Rodriguez guesting, a mariachi like vocal lure leads the listener into a maelstrom of jazzy guitar tempting, vocal ire, and a sonic painting of evocative endeavour and textures. Enthralling with its unpredictable imagination and great diversity, the song emerges as the strongest highlight of the release before Black Luster brings it all to an invasive and tantalising close. It is an outpouring of physical and atmospheric emotion, an undulating wave of intensity and creative tempting which like the sea has fierce under currents below a shimmering surface beauty.
An Odyssey For The Living is an impressive and thickly enjoyable debut from Zephyr, the band’s potential as rich as the flavours in their sound. There is for personal tastes that final spark missing to really inflame thickly satisfied reactions and emotions to the release but easy to sense that will come as the band grows, matures, and evolves in all aspects. Certainly they are ones to watch ahead and enjoy now.
An Odyssey For The Living is available from October 9th through all digital platforms.
Pete RingMaster 07/10/2015
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