No Paradise to Lose

Ye gads, where to start on this one. Two Polish immigrants relocated to Canada unleashed unsupervised upon a recording studio to record their second album. This is one is those albums you will either love or loathe, and much of that will depend on your state of consciousness. Those preferring a continual state of altered thinking, will find this to be a album of nirvana inducing, lucid space travel similar to Axis of Perdition’s otherworldly metal approach. Others, like me, might find Zaraza’s Godflesh/Skin Chamber in space ridden take on futuristic industrial doom death a little much.

Based on pulsing programmed beats, distorted robotic vocals (often signing in French or Polish) and lumbering crawling riffs, Zaraza are a pretty unique entity that will propel many of you through wormholes and space continuums of distant galaxies as you become one with space. Me? I thought it sounded like someone put a keyboard, a drum machine and a microphone in front of Stephen Hawking and gave him some valium.

I could not even tell “Nova Akropola” was a cover song (Laibach) – it was that foreign sounding. A few stark but monstrous riffs surface the lengthy tracks like “Mark of the Infidel,” “Infliction” and “Znikad Donikad,” and at their least experimental, Zaraza crank out some suitably doomy, gargantuan moments, but they are too bogged down in wandering, sample laden FX and attempted eerie sound scapes to prove effective. My attention just wasn’t drawn in but this style, as ambient and genre defying as it may be. Some classical instrumentation occasionally backs the seemingly random pounding and buzzing, that gives the affair an even more off the wall atmosphere, but does little more than make the whole mix even more incoherent and tangled. It’s all too much for my rudimentary death metal brain.

The album’s last two tracks are lacking guitars completely, but still chaotically programmed and rendered with discordant sampling and FX. “Przeklinaj Smeirc” is strangely hypnotic but “Heart.Ov.the.Goat” just kind of tacks on the end of the album with horrendous spoken vocals. It only serves to show that even though Zaraza doesn’t do a lot for me during their heavy moments, their attempt at the English language and guitar less atmospherics are even worse. Even the music wasn’t that entertaining, the production does bring the estranged elements together, despite the hit miss results, the guitars, when utilized are vast, and the sampling is suitably haunting and unnerving, it’s just the end result as songs are directionless.

If you are the type that needs to own everything of the wall of different, this album is for you, as it certainly threw me for a loop. I hate to be harsh on a duo that is willing to push the envelope, but sometimes the envelope can be simple shoved too far and falls off the table, at that appears to be the case with No Paradise to Lose. Doable concepts and approaches are simply overdone and compound together, when a little restraint in some of the element and increased riffage might have been pretty good. But who am I to dictate what a band does? Anyway, admirable attempt, but less than admirable results as in the end, this is music for space cadets on Prozac.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 18th, 2003


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