Zud“A zud or dzud (Mongolian: зуд) is a Mongolian term for an extremely snowy winter in which livestock are unable to find fodder through the snow cover, and large numbers of animals die due to starvation and the cold. The term is also used for other meteorological conditions, especially in winter, that make livestock grazing impossible.”

That sounds grim. Not in a metal claw, kvlt Scandi church burning sense, but in a real fight for survival in a desolate land sense.

Zud, the band, however are not from the plains of Mongolia but rather Maine in the US. What they serve up is a mix of Black n Roll, Psyche and RAWK! (It is so high up in the mix on this 5 track release it has to be in caps)

This is their debut full length and they released it on the summer solstice, limited to 333 hand numbered CD’s. TROO!  Despite this fact putting me off and causing me to whisper hipster under my breath I have been forced to eat my low decibel naysaying. This Zud is Gud! It brings the rock to the BM like Demonaz and it then injects the right amount of psychedelia to make it interesting without wigging out completely.  After intro ‘Portal to Infinity’ the remaining 4 tracks weigh in at 8 mins plus.  Now I am no prog fan and certainly do not enjoy a meandering choon which could have got to the f’ing point 3 mins ago. However Zud utilise the time to add enough textures and changes to keep me interested and engaged.

Skull Shaped Bell puts the pedal to the metal like Quorthon fronting Van Halen before a final 4 mins which offers a mixture of far out riffs, western twanging reminiscent of Deadbolt and fuzzed out dirtiness. It is the highlight of the album for me. For a punk loving radio DJ to say that about a track that is 12:41 long that is really saying summat.

I have seen Zud described as American Black Metal but that just does not describe the concoction they have recorded. Get yourself one of the 333! It must be ‘arf satanic Mum!

(7.5/10 Matt Mason)