Zeni Geva
10,000 Light Years

Since 1987, K.K. Null’s noise outfit Zeni Geva has honestly raised the bar on Japanese rock so high that it has yet to be matched. Main throats like Cryptopsy’s Mike DiSalvo and his ilk are still dead ringers for Null’s largely Japanese and broken English growls, though the band has created an alternate metal universe all their own with virtually no close comparisons.

The title track begins with some off-kilter Coalesce/Dillinger skronk then goes quiet with Null’s spoken-word delivery, which builds up pressure for a lengthy Neurosis-like pattern of hurricane-force assaults. Starting with some swarming guitar pickings like on Anthrax’s cover of S.O.D.’s “Chromatic Death,” “Implosion” spreads tar over the landscape in fine form; suddenly, right in the middle of the song, erupts dissonant chords like that sloppy orchestra covering Handel’s “Messiah” on Neil Young’s 1972 forgotten Journey Through The Past soundtrack. The jazzier instrumentals “Last Nanosecond” and “Interzona 2” (the first version graces 1995’s Freedom Bondage) sport solid fills by new drummer Masataka Fujikake (who replaces longtime skinsman Eito Noro), and “Tyrannycide” recalls the hardcore-heavy thrash of 1993’s Desire For Agony. “Blastsphere” resembles a cacophonous King Crimson with its loud/soft proggish foundations, reprised in “Hazchem” but with distinctive Mellotron-styled tones a la Crimson’s “Epitaph.”

Engineered by constant advocate Steve Albini, 10,000 Light Years picks where the group’s Alternative Tentacles catalog left off but with more freeform prog excursions, which ultimately leads to a more fluid and enjoyable listening experience.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dan Woolley
April 5th, 2001

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