Zozobra
Harmonic Tremors


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nathaniel USER (36 Reviews)
August 29th, 2007 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The creative output of Cave In and Old Man Gloom bassist proves to be more than just a side project that rekindles previous works, but also possesses great potential.

Among the fans of early Cave In, a common curiosity has likely passed through the minds of many since the drastic reinvention of their sound. What would the band sound like had they not sacrificed their metal influence from the riff-based debut Until Your Heart Stops for the later accessibility of the Creative Eclipses EP or Jupiter? The answer to this question lies in Zozobra, the direct result of Cave In and Old Man Gloom bassist Caleb Scofield. First conceived in 2006, hardly a year would pass before Scofield's vision would materialize itself within his songwriting, production, and eventual signing to Hydra Head records, through which all of his bands are produced. Santos Montano, also of Old Man Gloom, would come to contribute on drums for the project, leaving the two the freedom to solidify the songs before getting into the studio for the record's legitimate tracks. Upon the new year, Harmonic Tremors was born and Zozobra would find itself en route to touring live alongside Isis and Jesu.

Right from the start, Harmonic Tremors unleashes itself without hesitation in a manner that, naturally, is reminiscent of Scofield's previous experience. Particularly, the monstrous tone of his bass chugging immediately draws parallels with Cave In's most recent Perfect Pitch Black, without the stark contrasting of earlier sound against newer and separate musical ambition. The feeling that the record conveys is as though it would not be out of place at all if it were the response for Until Your Heart Stops, in which their raging metal explosiveness first began to meet with the potential of progressive ambiance. Though it is likely unintentional, the medium between the two allows Scofield to create something that hints at familiarity but most importantly doesn't come off as recycled. Harmonic Tremors manages to achieve this in that the bass, though nostalgic, finds itself with a much heavier accentuation, as opposed to Stephen Brodsky's guitar work absorbing a significant amount of notice. The fact that Scofield provided sparse vocals with Brodsky in Cave In doesn't hurt the likeness either, but his growling, at times bellowing register and clean harmonies add yet another minute factor that plays largely into the favor of Zozobra's own sound.

While it is true that the record comes off as something that would lean closer toward the metal genre, there are at best only slight instances of any cliches associated with it. The musical goal seems to be met on each song, fluctuating in a way that keeps it interesting without coming off as sporadic or segmented. Montano rarely shows off or tries to be flashy, but instead provides consistent, effective drumming that complement Scofield's bass riffing and does not distract from the way in which the album progresses. Despite the absence of any pounding double-bass or syncopated drum rolls, the first two tracks, The Blessing and Kill and Crush still bear a heavy weight with straight-forward, booming melodies. Levitator abandons the frontal assault and conjures up the similar intermediary breath of the segues found throughout Until Your Heart Stops before rising back to the energetic Soon to Follow, in which Montano now fuels the intensity and Scofield addresses the track's hooks with clean sung vocals.

Silver Ghost opens with a gritty, crawling introduction that could easily lead the unknowing ear to anticipate an epic Isis track, with the eventual addition of Scofield's clean vocals returning and coasting atop the glooming bass line. Bursting forth with from its fade out, the erupting Invisible Wolves transitions into aggressive attack with intensity similar to that which could be found on Thrice's Vheissu. Scofield's growl has returned by now and by this time has further distorted in the brooding march of Peripheral Lows, a song driven forward by a persistent, pounding drum rhythm played by Montano that refuses to relent until the track finds silence.

In something that sounds as though it has been inspired by one of Stephen Brodsky's floating, guitar centered interludes, The Vast Expanse does as its name implies and expands itself over the next few minutes. A steady groove is introduced into an array of guitar work and into the controlled cataclysm of Scofield's bass and shouted vocals. Caldera further elaborates on the progressive elements briefly encountered by unwinding ethereal harmonies within a field of effected noise, all of which encompassing the continuing thunder that is Scofield and Montano's musical chemistry. Those who remember Cave In's Decay of the Delay off of Antenna may draw a resemblance in the structure with, of course, the accentuation placed into the bass instead. A much more relatively mellow A Distant Star Fades will also bring to mind tracks on Jupiter as the vocals revert to a clean drifting melody in a song that resolves all the preceding chaos to a more quiet conclusion.

For Caleb Scofield, Zozobra and its Harmonic Tremors may be just a side project at first glance, it may be the missing link from the Cave In evolution that only surfaced now from his mind and in his hands, or it simply may be the result of a strong combination of impressive influences that have inspired its existence. I have come to think that it is all of those and still more, as his creative authority has permitted him to do as most bands do and produce something he genuinely enjoys. It has also opened the possibilities of greater individual success and, without question, the potential growth of an already solid sound into its one entirely of its own. I'll be waiting for sure, as I am certain that Scofield will again contribute in one way or another to something that is just as enjoyable, and I highly recommend others to take note as well.


Recommended Tracks:
Soon to Follow
Invisible Wolves
Peripheral Lows
Caldera



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
HotSalvation
August 29th 2007


258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hmm, I liked the first half of the album a good deal. the second half seemed to lack the creativity of the first though.


the Blessing is deffinitely the best track on here in my opinion.

good review though. if anybody finds out anything about new Old Man Gloom material, let me know.This Message Edited On 08.29.07

Wizard
August 29th 2007


19410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That was an entertaining read! Great review! You have convinced me to check out these guys.

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

Concubine
August 30th 2007


333 Comments


what hotsalvation said

DekWannaBFlea
August 30th 2007


284 Comments


I saw them with Isis and wasn't too impressed. But I guess they are better than coma inducing Jesu.

I'll have to check this out.


Good review.

Confessed2005
August 30th 2007


3314 Comments


I would've thought Jesu could be pretty interesting live.

any14doomsday
August 30th 2007


679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this CD, but its not that great.

A 3 seems kinda low, but its a solid score for a mostly solid album. The vocals don't do it for me.

JAV
May 22nd 2008


1939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought it was great for a first solo outing.
The songs just seem to end a bit abruptly sometimes.

StrizzMatik
August 8th 2008


3190 Comments


Gotta listen to this. I haven't heard any of their stuff yet and I'm a huge Cave In fan.

Wizard
March 7th 2010


19410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is better than Bird of Prey.

Photon
May 8th 2010


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album reminds me of Godflesh

joplinpicasso
May 29th 2011


427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Decay of the Delay" is off of 'Jupiter,' not 'Antenna'. Good review.

wacknizzle
October 20th 2012


13269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven't listened to this in forever, forgot how much fun it is. "Soon To Follow", "The Blessing", "Levitator", and "Kill and Crush" are so good!

Digging: Dioramic - Supra

icatchthirtythree
March 27th 2013


320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome album, still my favorite of theirs

Dolving999
February 15th 2014


1634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess most of the clean vocals are not by Scofield but rather by Brodsky... I know all the reviews are mentioning Scofield is the one singing the clean parts, and Brodsky is not even mentioned on the album credits... but have you guys taken a good listen to "A Distant Star Fades"?

Either they're just fooling with us or Scofield is really trying to emulate him (successfully at that!)

Ecnalzen
March 13th 2014


6537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just assumed the cleans were Brodsky. They sound just like him.



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