REVIEW : ZONG DEBUT ALBUM

The highly anticipated self-titled LP coming from Brisbane 3-piece Zong was released this month. The heavy psych rock record boasts 4 incredible fusions of instruments and soundscapes that make this album a formidable aural experience. The album runs for 43 minutes, meaning each song is its own sonic trip, whilst still adding to the overall theme of the project. The band eloquently describe it in their blurb as:

A giant ancient stone of unimaginable power and intelligence floats silently through space towards an unsuspecting primitive civilisation.

 And that’s exactly what you see when you listen to Zong.

 The first track, Cosmic Embryo, is intimately spacey and has that celestial vibe that the album is shooting for, whilst still retaining those earthy rock tones that put the rock in “Psych Rock.” The track is the perfect embodiment of the genre and the album, there’s a confidence to it that makes it calm yet keeps the charm of heavy rock.

The band explore the use of a wide range of effects and soundscapes for the LP. The expertly crafted soundscapes on Arcane Sand transport you to a desert planet outside our solar system; paired with driving drums that sit just behind the spacey and effected guitars, it takes the song through a high-energy, high-octane journey before blending into a warm, calm come-down.

The album also delves into subtle uses of electronic sounding instrumentation throughout the second half of the album. Giant Floating Head uses a hint of electronic sound to create a sombre, melancholy mood. The drums on this track take the spotlight this time around, coming to the forefront of the mix to dictate the movement of the story, providing a dynamic and fluid experience. Giant Floating Head is perhaps the heaviest of the 4 tracks, the instrumentation throughout gives the listener a real sense of impending doom, which is thematically directive of the album’s central idea.

https://zongband.bandcamp.com/album/zong

The final song on the record, Return of the Alien King, is the most distinct in terms of the album’s genre. It stands out as a soft, celestial, synthy and subtly electronic track. There are wonderful guitar melodies in this one, beginning with a wavey and spacey vibe before it turns into this energetic and lively track. A very fun song overall. Definitely the most accessible song on the album for newcomers to heavy psych rock. The mid-tempo drums and guitars/synths complement each other perfectly, creating a dynamic blend of composure and intensity.

Each song tells its own story through its expressive amalgamation of instruments and their impressive use of effects. A very well written LP, the production is sublime, every detail serves its purpose to create something that is psychedelic, crazy and wonderful.

Review by Bradman Wilson
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