I have to say that I did not expect to hear this that came out of my speakers. As an oddity of mine, before listening to a band I do not know, I do an initial internet search. And it told me that the band plays southern metal. In their debut EP “At The Delta Of Venus” (2015), they did. The same applies in the split EP with the Athenians Dead Elephant in 2017. But now things seem to have changed.
The Athenian quartet started in 2012 but it took nine years for them to release their first full-length album. And the term southern metal applies in part, but in no case does it fully describe their music. Maybe if the album started with the second track “Shattered Mentallity” I would not have had this impression, since the heavy bass line, the mid-tempo rhythm and the bourbon-soaked riffs fit to this description.
But the opener “The Settling Dust” or songs like “People Under The Stairs” could be characterized as thrash with the very fast tempos and the different philosophy in guitars. But there are more elements in their music, such as in “Burden”. It starts up-tempo, it slows down a bit later and has a very interesting acoustic break before a nice guitar solo at the end.
Zebu (a name derived from a cattle species in South Asia) certainly cannot be described as monotonous and repetitive. Although the southern element is generally strong in their music, they do not stay there as I said before. The vocals are mostly extreme but they do not hesitate to use female clean ones in the awesome “The Skin I Wear” with the catchy riffing that takes a…black metal twist towards the end.
The band plays more at mid-tempo speeds, making a special heavy/southern hybrid with a few thrash touches. Or as they say: Zebu plays heavy shit. And this is exactly what they do, without the need to go under a specific label since they put a lot of influences here, but without making the result confusing or boring to the ears.
The overall production is great and much better than their two previous works, which makes “Reek Of The Parvenu” even more attractive. I also have to mention that while writing these lines, its cost from the band’s page at Bandcamp is just €5 in digipak format! So, it’s a perfect opportunity to support this very worthwhile effort. At least, this is what I did.