Galga de Zebra Ilesa the new album from Portuguese band The9thCell, is a bit of a hard one to get a real handle on but very easy to enjoy, its eclectic sounds and intent not always as persuasive as it might be but thoroughly engaging and rippling with quality and impressive heavy weight sounds. As is evident on previous releases of the band, Galga de Zebra Ilesa offers a diverse and expansive array of sounds and invention which though at times one is left wondering if it really fits together there is only enjoyment and favourable inspired thoughts left behind.
The9thCell is the solo project of David Pais, and the new album his seventh full length release. His earlier years saw him join forces with bassist Ricardo Mestre to form electronic/industrial band Wishful Thinking whilst composing his own individual ideas and pieces which would go on to be part of his solo project. 2004 saw him join up with other musicians in alternative metal band Ashes before the beginnings of his solo project came about the following year, the project initially being called Mig before changing to The9thCell. Alongside his project across its time to date Pais has also collaborated and played with a few bands such as NoTribe and written music and soundtracks for cinematic short movies
Galga de Zebra Ilesa released through Infektion Records follows the well received Point Blank Range which came in three individual Acts throughout 2010. The new album is a collection of songs and music which as mentioned do not necessarily have a common bond apart from their author but are evidence of the wide creative base and musical imagination of Pais.
First track Adão e Erva immediately has the ear hooked with its opening mesmeric beginning, the atmospheric and slowly brewing mellow start a weave of shimmering melodies and emotive ambience. There is a firm prodding though through firm riffs which line the native tongue vocal delivery before it explodes into a storm of excellent metallic rock n roll. With an electronic whisper in the background the track is a rampaging mix of Bloodsimple and Tool which lights the passions at every turn. Arguably its ten minutes is over stretching things slightly in hindsight but in its company the journey is impactful and invigorating.
The following Cavaleão is true to its opening vocal declaration and unleashes a feast of metal and classic rock excellence. It thumps with unbridled eagerness and high octane energy. Featuring Cláudio Brandão, the song punctures the ear with ferocious riffs and hungry basslines whilst vocally it is an anthemic riot of aggression and continues the impressive start to the release.
At this point the album suddenly throws one off balanced with songs which are unexpected sound wise and fully diverse. Morning Glory is a hard rock track with keen funk tendencies reminding of bands like Extreme whilst the challenging Liberdagem (Este Meu Poço de Romantismo Furioso) spans from melodic metal through to blackened symphonic breath. Both tracks are impressively crafted and presented and engage the senses more deeply with each passage through their invention. Gentlemania has a blues vein to its steely raw presence again furthering the variation. The track does not find any real connection to be honest especially with its spoken vocals, in English as many of the tracks, but to be fair it is one of the few occasions that happens.
Along with the second track the highlights of the album comes with Wounded Pt 2, a track which enters with a crystalline electronic wash before evolving into a muscle rippling tower of inciteful surges and scorched sonic manipulation, and the excellent Jacktiv(h)ate, a tempest of death and classic metal violence which sounds like a mix of Sepultura, and Soundgarden with flashes of Judas Priest.
Closing with the sunset of instrumental Keep Your Heart At Bay, an impressive cinematic soundscape, Galga de Zebra Ilesa is a strong and captivating release which will please most rock and melodic metal hearts, and at times even those with more extreme preferences.
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