Irish metallic beasts Zom use blackened violence, chaos on fiery debut ‘Flesh Assimilation’

ZomSitting here with a sore throat, a headache that seems to come and go, and a body temperature that rises and drops 15 times per hour, everything feels like lunacy right now. I’m not bedridden by any means, and I am well enough to be somewhat productive on my couch with old NWA wrestling on my TV, so let’s get into a thunderous platter of horror that might help break my fever.

Ireland’s Zom haven’t been at it for a terribly long time, having logged three years together as a unit. But you wouldn’t know that from the hellish battery that flies at you on their debut full-length “Flesh Assimilation,” an eight-track assault that is raw and heinous as they come. There are a lot of bands that try to reach back to the black and death metal aesthetics of eras past and easily swing and miss. Not Zom. They could have crawled out of the gutters in early 1990s and been right at fiery home. They are devastating, mashing, and completely devoid of mercy for your feelings, and if that poke to the eye seems like something you might enjoy, you could get hours of infernal joy out of this record.

Zom coverThe three titans who comprise Zom are guitarist/vocalist Sodomaniac, bassist/vocalist Chthon, and drummer Sabbac. All three have serious impact on this thing, and each of their mammoth musical contributions go toward making this record feel like all-out war. Every second of this record is utterly brutal, with no let-up whatsoever. Even when they’re not tearing forward with great bursts of speed, they’re drubbing you with a thrashy, channeled attack that’s unquestionably heavy. Now that you’ve been duly warned, let’s get into this thing.

“Tombs of the Void” is the first offering, beginning with strange howls and eeriness before letting loose with a bloody assault, beastly growls, and a tempo that will trample you underfoot in no time. As with all of the songs on this record, the intensity remains thick and true right up until the end when it runs into “Hordes of the Cursed Realms.” The riffs are fantastic and sinewy, with the growling coming back as echoes and a strange alien feel to some of the playing. The track stomps and flattens everything in front of it, paying no mind to the bodies left behind. “Gates to Beyond” has cosmic wooshes that float in the air that are blown apart with a heavy, calculated display that takes its time distributing punishment. Of course, the song later is blown to bits as the band reaches a state of gravelly violence that only subsides once spacey noises slip in, take over, and bleed right into “Conquest.” Here, doomy pounding arrives and trudges before the guys unleash blazing speed and blurry noise that sits behind the carnage. There’s some back and forth to this one, and it ends with noises swirling in the air.

“Illbeings Unspeak” has a clubbing pace, harsh vocals that sound threatening and sometimes unintelligible, drums that detonate fully, and rampaging riffs that should make the blood surge and the body bruise more easily. “Dead Worlds” is introduced with shrieking sounds, more doomy sentiments, and guitars that start chugging forward with a purpose. This cut splatters fury everywhere, with great thrashiness that could strain your neck, feral growls that terrify, and a finish that mixes odd chants with electronic blips. Pretty weird stuff. “The Depths” finds the drums and bass working together like a well-oiled killing machine, more tremendous riffs causing smoke to rise, and a smothering display that seeks to maim and suffocate. The closing title track opens with a smeary pocket of sound that disorients before the band finds yet another violent gear and charges forward. The cut gets blistering as hell, with a true old school feel emanating from this thing, and the rawness and punishment taking a final stand, leading out with a pace that should leave you sore for hours afterward.

Zom’s commitment to outright violence and devastation is admirable and refreshing, and this debut “Flesh Assimilation” is the official first warning shot fired by the war-torn Irish heathens. It’s as heavy a record as you’re going to find in black and death metal circles this year, and it should make for a great wake-me-up blast if you need something to get your ass into gear. Zom are off to a tumultuous start on this debut, and they’re a band to keep your blackened eyes on as they progress down their path of terror.

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