ZYGNEMA 'What makes us Human is Obsolete' Review

Mumbai’s Thrash/Groove Metal quartet ‘Zygnema’ are a band totally new to me so I tracked down their 2010 debut release ‘Born of Unity’ to get the bigger picture and whilst that debut offering was a decent listen they have seriously upped their game since then with follow-up album ‘What makes us Human is Obsolete’. This time around there is much more density and a greater defined groove to the sound, surprising as they only have one guitarist, Sidharth Kadadi, but I think this extra depth and dimension, comes from the new bass player Leon Quadros who’s bass work is much chunkier and thicker sounding than their previous bassist.

Sound wise it’s a very modern and innovative offering with attention grabbing hooks, and earth-shattering breakdowns and an unpredictable quality to its direction changing, energetically delivered end to end. The drum work from Mayank Sharma is slick, precise, hugely varied and very powerfully delivered and the vocals from Jimmy Bhore are good also, manifesting as a powerful, rasping roar.

The eleven track forty minute offering covers a broad range of lyrical subjects; society, politics, violence and does make an engaging and at times face ripping, overpowering listen but it’s broken up with a couple of preludes, the first, with sinister unnerving spoken vocals, ‘Conflict ‘which reflects back on the haunting, pulsating intro ‘Embryo’ and the second ‘Misguided’ also has a disturbing quality of its own, where a child’s voice and an air-raid siren dominate.

All the tracks are delivered at a fast tempo and title track ‘What Makes Us Human Is Obsolete’ has superb second half riffs that spiral off kilter before ripping into a thrashy solo and chanting backing vocals.

One of the tracks that had made a big impact on me, ‘Shell Broken Hell Loose’ has an addictive punchy quality to the groove emanating from the bass, a great midpoint breakdown and superb closing bass work.

Endangered’ has a hypnotic intense groove that contrasts well alongside the roaring vocals, with the drum work coming more to the fore towards the close.

‘Invidious I ‘builds on punchy riffing to start, accentuated by pummelling drum work, the pace intensifies as the track progresses, taking on more of a groove, ending powerfully.

‘In-Kog’, after a haunting intro, complete with sinister vocal whispers, breaks out into a great dissonant groove that is meaty and garnished with superb drum work, the sinister vocals popping up again and a nice midpoint shred, then ending in the same haunting manner it began.

I also really enjoyed ‘Reform Rebirth’ which opens on a superb groove that is almost hypnotic, overall not quite as in your face as many of the tracks, it’s good to get a chance to catch your breath and it still has that punch quality and a decent latter part solo.

If a groove could be sexy then ‘The Phoenix Effect’ certainly has one, it’s also so slick and so hugely addictive that it makes the more brutal aspects all the more welcoming and palatable contrasting nicely alongside the, at times, very rapidly delivered vocals , another excellent track

The final track ‘A Design to Choose ‘which features vocalist Sunneith Revankar from Bhayanak Maut has to be the most bizarre, wildcard track ever, it’s almost ten minutes long, opening on a nice bass rich groove eventually progressing to a real old school guitar solo, after a breakdown that fades out, midway through, it pauses for a significant period of time before restarting as an acoustic track with clean singing, utterly mystified, I made enquiries, was this second half a “hidden track”? Apparently not, it’s all one track and I am left scratching my head in confusion, both halves make a good listen but could not be more disparate if they tried.

The artwork for ‘What makes us Human is Obsolete’ was created by Reuben Bhattacharya (Undying Inc.) and the album is available here. Anyone who enjoys Groove or Math Metal should find this a fascinating and intense listen, the Thrash aspect is there, but in moderation, notably in the solos, nonetheless, it’s an interesting and uncompromising release that doesn’t hold anything back from undeniably talented musicians and the more you listen to it the better it sounds . There is no video but tracks are available to hear on their Reverbnation page .

Review by Jools Green

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