Psalms of Zahyin Metal, Classical CalatrilloZ Ahhh, finally something I can tag in one of the genre categories on the Brutal Resonance platform. How often have I had to click “other” when choosing a genre because my relatively vanilla indie music sensibilities just don’t fit in with the infinite number of underground genres and sub-genres we have programmed into our platform here? Not this time, my goth chums. Not this time. CalatrilloZ, a quintet based in London, are decidedly metal in palette. They are so metal, in fact, that they follow many metal sub-genres, origins and traditions to and almost past their logical conclusions. I will thus easily be able to pick a category upon posting this, because every possible permutation of metal is listed as a category on our platform. I feel like a winner today!   Brazenly theatrical and operatic, CalatrilloZ have been touring Europe while working on their first album, Psalms of Zahyin for almost five years and it shows. The amount of time and effort the band have put into crafting every aspect of their personae, back story and music is as all-inclusive as I have ever seen. Their bio is essentially a macabre mythology of the band, deigning them “a circus troupe of wanderers.” On Youtube, in addition to the many studio and recording videos, each band member has an intro video describing his character and how he came to be in the band.   On top of, or perhaps because of, all the metal that graces CalatrilloZ’s first album, the band also classes themselves as opera. Most metal fans know, of course, that much of European metal comes from classical music. Metal guitarists got to be so fast and so good by practicing and studying Beethoven and other complex classical composers’ work, and oftentimes these classical melodies make their way into their music. CalatrilloZ takes this one step further by not only jamming their work with classical and gothic-inspired guitars and composition but by also creating a theatrical presence around said compositions. There is also a visual element here that normally doesn’t make its way into the relatively bare bones performances of other metal bands.   Another undeniable opera element to CalatrilloZ’s sound is singer/composer Zahyin’s vocals. Done in a sort of Bruce Dickinson-esque falsetto, the tone and timbre are reminiscent of 80s scream metal but with a little more vocal control. Now, since I mentioned one type of metal, I shall list all the other sub-genres found on Psalms of Zahyin: most predominantly goth metal, obviously, but we also have some death metal in the drums, thrash metal in the guitars, and black metal in the intros and outros of most songs. I think that pretty much runs the gamut of metal sub-genres, yes?   Now to actually review the album. Psalms of Zahyin, as might be expected, is set up as a story and each song is its own story or chapter. The album opens with “Origins” which, you guessed it, explains the origins of the band and introduces listeners to their style, which in this song is 80s thrash and goth metal. “Lords of Misery” leans even more towards 80s metal, and quite a bit of Iron Maiden influence can be heard. This song has the most operatic vocal arrangement on the album. “I am Alive” is one of two singles the band are previewing on their Soundcloud page and is pretty much thrash down the line with some ornamental gothic elements. The second pre-release single is called “A Glimpse at a Fool’s Destiny” and is the most blatantly gothic in its base.   “A Glimpse at a Fool’s Destiny” is also probably the best track on the album, as it has the most cohesive overall sound and production. In general the album is well-written, well-arranged and well-produced, though in places the guitars and synths can sound a bit tinny or like the studio didn’t have proper sound deadening. Also in spots the band seems to lose a little energy, like in the chorus of “I Am Alive” or in the beginning of the closing song, “Z the Psychopath.” In the latter case it sounds like an issue with over-mastering (“too digital,” as Dethklok would say), but in “I Am Alive,” I wonder how many takes they did and if drummer Jimmy Sticks just ran out of steam.   Overall I’d say Psalms of Zahyin is a good first effort for CalatrilloZ, and their concept is very interesting. It takes the band beyond metal nichehood and into other areas, hopefully gaining them a broader audience. The theatrics and mystery created around the music can be a bit cheesy at times, but it seems the band are doing this in full understanding that they might be perceived that way and I think they just don’t care. They’re clearly having fun and doing their music their way and they have the skills to back it up, so I say more power to them. There’s lots to listen to and see with this band, from their high-energy live shows to their multi-media take on the dramatic and almost phantasmagorical concept they’ve come up with. Even if you don’t like metal, this is an interesting musical world CalatrilloZ have created. Check out their website and origin videos to familiarize with the band before the album is released in June, and “I Am Alive” and “A Glimse at a Fool’s Destiny” are on their Soundcloud page. Now excuse me while I go check all my lovely genre boxes.   4
Brutal Resonance

CalatrilloZ - Psalms of Zahyin

8.0
"Great"
Released off label 2015
Ahhh, finally something I can tag in one of the genre categories on the Brutal Resonance platform. How often have I had to click “other” when choosing a genre because my relatively vanilla indie music sensibilities just don’t fit in with the infinite number of underground genres and sub-genres we have programmed into our platform here? Not this time, my goth chums. Not this time. CalatrilloZ, a quintet based in London, are decidedly metal in palette. They are so metal, in fact, that they follow many metal sub-genres, origins and traditions to and almost past their logical conclusions. I will thus easily be able to pick a category upon posting this, because every possible permutation of metal is listed as a category on our platform. I feel like a winner today!
 

Brazenly theatrical and operatic, CalatrilloZ have been touring Europe while working on their first album, Psalms of Zahyin for almost five years and it shows. The amount of time and effort the band have put into crafting every aspect of their personae, back story and music is as all-inclusive as I have ever seen. Their bio is essentially a macabre mythology of the band, deigning them “a circus troupe of wanderers.” On Youtube, in addition to the many studio and recording videos, each band member has an intro video describing his character and how he came to be in the band.
 

On top of, or perhaps because of, all the metal that graces CalatrilloZ’s first album, the band also classes themselves as opera. Most metal fans know, of course, that much of European metal comes from classical music. Metal guitarists got to be so fast and so good by practicing and studying Beethoven and other complex classical composers’ work, and oftentimes these classical melodies make their way into their music. CalatrilloZ takes this one step further by not only jamming their work with classical and gothic-inspired guitars and composition but by also creating a theatrical presence around said compositions. There is also a visual element here that normally doesn’t make its way into the relatively bare bones performances of other metal bands.
 

Another undeniable opera element to CalatrilloZ’s sound is singer/composer Zahyin’s vocals. Done in a sort of Bruce Dickinson-esque falsetto, the tone and timbre are reminiscent of 80s scream metal but with a little more vocal control. Now, since I mentioned one type of metal, I shall list all the other sub-genres found on Psalms of Zahyin: most predominantly goth metal, obviously, but we also have some death metal in the drums, thrash metal in the guitars, and black metal in the intros and outros of most songs. I think that pretty much runs the gamut of metal sub-genres, yes?
 

Now to actually review the album. Psalms of Zahyin, as might be expected, is set up as a story and each song is its own story or chapter. The album opens with “Origins” which, you guessed it, explains the origins of the band and introduces listeners to their style, which in this song is 80s thrash and goth metal. “Lords of Misery” leans even more towards 80s metal, and quite a bit of Iron Maiden influence can be heard. This song has the most operatic vocal arrangement on the album. “I am Alive” is one of two singles the band are previewing on their Soundcloud page and is pretty much thrash down the line with some ornamental gothic elements. The second pre-release single is called “A Glimpse at a Fool’s Destiny” and is the most blatantly gothic in its base.
 

“A Glimpse at a Fool’s Destiny” is also probably the best track on the album, as it has the most cohesive overall sound and production. In general the album is well-written, well-arranged and well-produced, though in places the guitars and synths can sound a bit tinny or like the studio didn’t have proper sound deadening. Also in spots the band seems to lose a little energy, like in the chorus of “I Am Alive” or in the beginning of the closing song, “Z the Psychopath.” In the latter case it sounds like an issue with over-mastering (“too digital,” as Dethklok would say), but in “I Am Alive,” I wonder how many takes they did and if drummer Jimmy Sticks just ran out of steam.
 

Overall I’d say Psalms of Zahyin is a good first effort for CalatrilloZ, and their concept is very interesting. It takes the band beyond metal nichehood and into other areas, hopefully gaining them a broader audience. The theatrics and mystery created around the music can be a bit cheesy at times, but it seems the band are doing this in full understanding that they might be perceived that way and I think they just don’t care. They’re clearly having fun and doing their music their way and they have the skills to back it up, so I say more power to them. There’s lots to listen to and see with this band, from their high-energy live shows to their multi-media take on the dramatic and almost phantasmagorical concept they’ve come up with. Even if you don’t like metal, this is an interesting musical world CalatrilloZ have created. Check out their website and origin videos to familiarize with the band before the album is released in June, and “I Am Alive” and “A Glimse at a Fool’s Destiny” are on their Soundcloud page. Now excuse me while I go check all my lovely genre boxes.
 

May 23 2015

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Layla Marino

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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