Review: ZOLFO “Delusion of Negation” [Spikerot Records]

Review: ZOLFO “Delusion of Negation” [Spikerot Records]

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Up from the depths of Dante’s frozen hell come Zolfo. With a monstrous sound that is not of this world, debut album Delusions of Negation surely needs to be heard to be believed.

Introductory track Neural Worm is an ambient hellscape. With a dense atmosphere accompanying the distant screams of the damned, this one will probably be skipped on repeated listens, but I implore you give it a fair shot, at least your first time around. As the collage of demented sonic elements building to a thick peak, this piece serves as a perfect overture for what is about to come.

Inner Freeze comes in hot off the ambient backdrop of the introduction. Sprawling soundscapes are replaced with a tight doom jam. The demonic screams take on a central and much more focused role as the band fires into an onslaught of sludged out riffs.

Existential Prolapse changes gears yet again with a hypnotic riff, which draws some warranted comparisons to Tool, slows things down into a loose groove with some very jazzy drums dancing along in time. Listen closely for some truly outstanding bass work making some fleeting steps into the foreground with a subtle grace that is difficult to achieve in such a dense sound.

Bass lines continue to shine as the foundation for a great feedback jam to kick off title track, Delusions of Negation. A swirling atmosphere grabs onto listeners and holds them under its spell for the better part of seven entrancing minutes before the song explodes from within, showering down some of the heaviest sludge around.

The Deepest Abyss follows the title track’s formula of chaotic noise being used as the build up for an earth rattling peak.

With a live improvisational feel that harkens memories of an Ummagumma error Pink Floyd on the worst of acid trips, this introduction will delight fans of noise, but at five plus minutes may chase off the average listener. The payoff, I can assure you, is well worth the wait. With earth rattling riffs and pummelling drums setting the stage for another hellish bout of anguished cries, a chaotic fuzzed out jam serves as the crescendo to the album.

It would be absolutely criminal not to mention the divine production work of Andrea Lenoci, who was able to tame this beast of a sound. Absolutely enormous and sprawling, the cacophony is allowed to roam free here without traveling outside of the capabilities of the recording containing it. The album gives off the feeling of a live performance brilliantly, planting the listener firmly into the center of this hell. A sound that is quick to overcome you and can be incredibly difficult to escape.

I’m going to say it clearly right here. The debut album from these Italian doomsters will not be for everyone. Some people won’t get it. Some will understand but politely refuse. That’s all ok. If you’re looking for hooks and catchy choruses than look elsewhere. This is a violent sonic experience. This is a noisey, assault on the senses. It’s not for the faint of heart.

But.

If you’re into that kind of thing then believe me, you’re going to want to check this out.  It is a work of brutally dark art, and a listen is essential for any serious fan of the sludge genre.

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Peter Morsellino

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