The Painless EP

Australia sure seems to do a wonderful job of producing unbelievably groovy and polished death metal, Ulcerate and Psycroptic to name two that come to mind.  Hailing from Perth, Western Australia comes Sanzu.  Sanzu’s Painless EP is a testament to experimentation and really well thought out song writing.

“18 days of Rain”starts off with an extremely heavy and well put together part with almost has a Cannibal Corpse feel but if you could picture with everything moved down a string as the use of eight strings sounds to be in play and with lines like, “The Earth being sucked into The Black Lake.” paint a picture of apocalyptic environmental subject matter that is found all through out this EP.

For all starts off with almost a mix of the groove riffs of a band with Gojira with follow up hooks that could have came off of Morbid Angel’s Gateways to Annihilation (Pinch harmonics and pick rakes galore).  Another strength of Sanzu’s song arrangements is that guitar solos are non-existent which is really fitting in getting more into Sanzu’s lyrical themes. One could say that the arrangement of this one makes me want to drink more of Sanzu’s riff milk shake.

“Defamer” starts off with some more Cannibal Corpse-que harmonized trills into some elastic lower end riffery.  I kind of wish there were less blast elements going on with Sanzu’s arrangements.  Sanzu build their drum parts so well that sometimes the blast beat sections seem out of place. I think that the production value of this for an EP is as heavy as any other band that might play of similar style.  For instance, I enjoy this more than the last Ulcerate record.  That is just me though and part of the fun of discovering a new band is enjoying watching how they grow. I can’t wait to hear what their first full length will sound like.

There is a unique parallel of how these lads use their lower “djent” parts.  They don’t dominate the record.  They feel like punctuation to accentuate the other catchy elements of the music. “Variant Red” is my favorite of Painless.  The vocal work on Painless is fantastic in that there is a great deal of annunciation and variety and not just straight screaming.   They do an excellent job of building their songs into the bridge sections, which then ride out into some really heavy breakdown sections, which are interesting to listen to meaning that they are not over mathematical but seem to move the songs along very well.

“Lunar Crush” ends this EP with some majestic lower tuned tremolo riffs that build to shifting chugs which shift back into more heavy riffage down the widened fret boards of their instruments.  The pick rakes cut perfectly and sound like nails on a chalkboard, which I believe is the desired effect.   I would say this feels more like a full length than an EP even though only twenty-eight minutes. This is a very well flowing debut from Sanzu who have a great future ahead of them.   Drink this all up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
July 8th, 2015


  1. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Ulcerate is from New Zealand, not Australia. Geography matters.

  2. Commented by: Nick K

    The band seemed to like the review but thanks.

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