Review Summary: The few moments of magic gets quickly overwhelmed by insipidity
I recall reading a review about this French band who were dubbed as “the missing link between Slipknot and Fear Factory” when their debut came out in 2005, that’s really enough to get the attention of any fan of both aforementioned bands and I was impressed enough by what I heard to keep an eye on this virtually unknown beast.
After a very lacklustre sophomore release three years later, Zuul Fx have finally dropped their third album ‘The Torture Never Stops’ in 2011 and it seems they continue to be uninspired in the creativity department although there is a sense of change in their approach this time round.
Gone are the solid Industrial influences and seamlessly replacing it with a more groove metal riffs and other out of character inclusions are to be found.
The album opens with a short, simple and eerie track which acts more like an intro rather than a full song; nothing special but the piano sections does have a significant effect and makes it creepier in a way.
‘Dancing Around Death’ is where the Slipknot imitation comes out a lot clearer with little success and carries a rather annoying chorus and like in many others on the album also features an out of place solo which comes out of nowhere not really adding anything to the song overall.
Singer Steeve "Zuul" Petit is the highlight of this band and pretty much always has been due to the ferocious howls and screams which falls somewhere between Dez Fafara and Rob Flynn, he definitely does the extremities of the music justice in every way but his cleans are a different story which for example can be heard on the likes of ‘Devil Son Vs Sexy Witch’, an decent track until you hear the chorus come in which has this tendency to force you to skip it to the next track.
The sound production of ‘The Torture Never Stops’ is extremely fuzzy in nature, I do own a decent pair of earphones and it’s impossible to listen to this without being overwhelmed by a wall of distortion, whether it was done to give the album some sort of an Industrial feel is unknown but it does come across as deliberate that’s for sure.
Despite of the negativity on the above paragraphs, this does have its positives.
Zuul Fx are an intense band in the same vein as Devildriver when it comes to an all-out assault like ‘The Maze’ which is one of the stand-out tracks on the record, it’s fast, groovy, unforgiving and well structured… definitely one that can easily become a fan-favourite in the live circuit.
Another gem is “Beat The Crap Out” which features a bouncy riff which is hard not to bop your head to and the grooves just keep on coming on the chorus as well.
The album is not terrible by any means but judging the musical direction they seem to be heading, they risk falling into what is now a congested genre that does not really need them as they have nothing new to offer and unlike their fellow countrymen Gojira, they firmly remain as B-listers far below their own peers Dagoba which is a shame because there is great potential here if the imitation and lack of imagination stop.