Merzbow - Zophorus [Blossoming Noise - 2007]Zophorus finds Merzbow following on the trend of the more guitar based psychedelic fuzzscapes of this year Coma Berenices, but ironing most of the more melodic and soundtrack elements & replacing them with almost speed metal/come punk sheen and a few welcome nods back his past along the way too.
Also following recent trends the five tracks(Zophorus prts one to five)are fairly short too, all around the ten to fifteen minute mark, giving a total running time of just over filthy minutes. Part one kicks in a monotonous distorted haze of guitar textures and electronics, With in the background this constant punk/speed metal two cord riff going over and over again. On the first few plays the track felt a little overlong and dull, but father listens have uncovered rewarding sonic details and changers in texture. Part two starts of with a nice sinister throbbing pulse/tone, that proceeds to snake out wonderful streams psychedelic/ noise guitar craft. The track almost giving the feeling of a sinister wardance under multi-coloured swirled skies, the albums title means; sculptured relief frieze, with a continuous pattern, of men or animals, which could well mean a dance of some form. Part three finds more bashed out guitar tones bubbling with boiling electronics, again returning to a sort of high pitched speed metal tones that burn through out. Psychedelic rips/patterns of feedback raise like smoke from the looped guitar and noise craft.
Part four is the longest and most surprising piece here as it see’s Masami utilizing both chicken sounds and acoustic drum sounds -with all their ominous metallic and clanking wonder. He weaves these familiar elements into his new fuzz guitar scapes to breathing taking effect. The sound picture here is so strange, hypnotic and dense, but you can hear every sonic detail, As he takes you on a sound ride as he only can. Part four is back to straight-for-the- throat attack with looped and barbaric metal/ punk noise hybrid guitar clutter/ expand and rhythmic pulse, which again has that strange wardance vibe.
Another rewarding chapter in one of our times great sound artists/ composer. Maybe not as essential as some of his work and not for Merz-virgins, but Merzbow connoisseur's will find plenty to enjoy here and get their teeth into.Roger Batty