DISCLAIMER: Listening to this album on high volume for an extended period of time may result in face melting, tinnitus and an untamable thirst for violence and destruction. CDM cannot be held responsible for any injuries that may occur.
With that out of the way let’s look at Zorn‘s self-titled debut album and wow what an album it is. The band play what I would describe as a perfect blend of black metal, thrash metal and punk, but deliver it with the speed, ferocity and raw unfiltered sound of 80s First Wave black metal. Most importantly though they chock their music full to the brim with deliciously monstrous riffs and hooks that never really let up from start to finish. It kind of feels like a blend of early Voivod, Nunslaughter, Bathory, Midnight and Exodus, all rolled into one incredible package. I can say this with confidence too because I’ve seen that others online echo the same sentiments.
I can very safely say that this is one of the most fun and enjoyable listens so far of 2023. Its also an album that I see as having limitless replay value, so I don’t see that title going anywhere with repeated listens. It’s just so high energy, so intoxicating, so unhinged that you can’t help but immediately fall in love with it. For me there are two main factor that make the album as impactful as it is, the vocals and the guitar work.
Vocally we get a RAPID-FIRE assault of wildly shrieked blackened thrash vocals that berate the listener incessantly. They are literally perfectly matched to the music, I honestly couldn’t ask for a better fit. There’s just a raw, unhinged energy that oozes from them and has the listener absolutely hooked. Thrown in with this are wild shrieks and wails that at times remind me of those early Slayer high notes. To make them that much more impactful they have a slight faded effect applied, giving them an even rawer edge than they already have and playing into that old school sound. We also can’t forget the bass work, which is where the punk influences seep into the mix, adding that bouncy, high energy element into the mix and really padding out the overall sound.
Let’s talk guitar, because there’s a lot to be said here. Aside from the vocals, the guitar work is the driving force on the album, sitting high in the mix and bringing a lot of the album’s energy. Much to the listeners delight they are treated to non-stop thrash style riffage with a blackened edge and punk energy. Aside from the general high energy riffs there are also some killer solos that break out of the mix and really give some added character. I can’t overstate how much this band shreds, it’s just mind blowing the pace and ferocity that they play at, and I cannot get enough of it.
Last but not least I have to give praise to the drum work on the album which is where the punk influences really shine through. The upbeat, unrelenting energy that they bring is crucial to the album’s overall energy and drive. They actually bring a certain element of groove to the mix too with their catchy rhythms and hypnotic delivery.
Overall this is one hell of a debut full-length album and one that has me extremely excited for the band’s future. This is one of the first albums in a while that the very first time I heard it I ordered it on vinyl before even finishing listening to the whole thing. I truly believe that it will have the same effect on many others, especially if they love thrashy as hell first wave black metal with crust punk influences.