The Way of the Animal Powers

It’s debatable whether the Rome quartet known as Zu should even be considered metal. True, they have a song on The Way Of The Animal Powers called “Tom Araya is Our Elvis.” Their album sports illustrations of gorillas, a bird’s head in a jar and an exploding volcano. The similarities end there. Zu openly admire mythologist Joseph Campbell—who inspired George Lucas to create the Jedi Knights—rather than Anton LaVey. And their weapons of choice aren’t a Marshall stack and guitars but a saxophone and an alto bass.

The Way Of The Animal Powers was released five years ago and is now being reissued on LP from Public Guilt. If you only fancy meat and potatoes riffs and songs that you can hum, this album will feel like a waterboarding. If you are looking to get down like a Beatink in Kerouac’s orbit eating his tenth Benzedrine tablet, then this LP will delight. Zu’s sound combines the lowend of Primus and mixes it with improvisational Sun Ra -style jazz. On tracks like “Shape Shifting” instruments sound like animal squalls; at other times, they sound like human voices. The album is so far out that there are moments when songs border on parody — the type of music people mock when it receives federal funding. But there is always an interesting passage that pulls you along.

A portion of listeners will argue that only an urban hipster would classify this as metal. The Way Of The Animal Powers does defy easy categorization. But mythologist Campbell said that the way to enlightenment was to follow your bliss, and you could never say Zu is doing anything less then something completely different than the herd. This album is for the metalhead who secretly wears a beret.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Justin M Norton
March 21st, 2010


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