I caught the Fenriz approved Irish band Zom recently at Live Evil Festival and was pretty much blown away by their on stage presence and sound. They conjured up a fearsome brand of occult death metal that reminded a lot of the likes of Grave Miasma and Cruciamentum and they pulled things off with raw and malevolent hunger, which was all consuming and impossible to ignore. Going through the reviews list I was about to send out I realised that by pure coincidence they were on it so naturally grabbed this for myself and eagerly started to play their early demo tracks which have been exhumed and re-mastered. Don’t expect things to have been ruined and polished up though, that would have been complete heresy and the old standards are encrusted with a cloying coat of pure grime.
Sinister samples making you wonder if they are from an obscure film or being actually recorded from a ritual ooze out the speakers before the crawling ‘Horror From Beyond’ limbers up slowly but with plenty of dread about it. A ghastly belch and it ratchets up a gear. Drum sound clicks hollowly in the background and the guitars slew and scythe with beastly reverb drenched vocals filling in the void. It’s all a primitive barrage and one that shows what a potent force the band could be on stage although naturally here without such force and focus. There’s plenty of Lovecraft going on in the song titles and in the way the vocals gurgle up from the depths looking for souls to consume as this beastly, bestial exercise continues and flings us into the likes of ‘The Chaos Dimension’
It’s easy to hear why this impressed a certain listener on his dark throne as it has spirit and plenty of force about it and these six tracks are suitably grimly cult. Personally I really found the use of samples particularly effective both here and live as they left me shivering anticipating the next musical barrage. Musically don’t go expecting this to sound like a million dollars but look on it as an introduction for things to come, naturally if you get the chance to see Zom live too, jump at it.
(7/10 Pete Woods)