Review Summary: Wanzwa is a rejuvenating voyage into the heart of progressive metal itself.
The biggest universal qualm with the genre of progressive music itself is that those that implement its attributes don't always know when exactly to stop. It's just inherently hard for proficient musicians to not utilize their instruments to their fullest potential, perhaps creating music that challenges their abilities. There's always been a fine line between only playing to achieve a certain sound, and that of working in what many years of formal training have readied you for, and as an avid lover of the bizarre world that is of progressive metal, I can definitely attest to the idea of the more restrained musicians sticking with me the longest. However, it's also true that when an artist has little to no apprehensions about creating something that just wants to go as ballistic as possible, the realization of that idea is something quite exciting. That's why Wanzwa's self-titled debut album is so great, because although it does exhibit episodes of frenetic recession occasionally, for most of the versatile journey the album shows no problem with going in the direction it wants to go. There's no lack of self-assured desires realized on this album, and while it does occasionally get to be too much (when the heavier moments tend to blend together a bit too much to be a comfortable list, for instance), mostly it is a rejuvenating voyage into the heart of progressive metal itself, and is a reminder of why we spend so much time listening to such musical bombshells.
In terms of the album's flow, it grows more potent as it goes along, snowballing from Wanzwa's heavy tenacity to more eloquent, defined pieces that serve as the centerpiece for the album. This is the one aspect of Wanzwa that is most impressive; even though their more jazz-fusion-laden sections are ultimately more memorable, their adamantly dense walls of sound they occasionally create (see the halfway mark of Ego Self-destruct, for example) are so unbelievably massive. This is a testament to both the landmarks that the group have met with only their debut, as well as to their soaring potential. What also definitely curries their favor over that of other peers is the incredible production that takes place. One would think that with so many musical ideas taking place at one time, it would be about impossible for all of them to carry the same degree of weight. It's quite the spectacle, then, that the production is not only startlingly balanced, but also achieved on the very first album, for these intricacies are what take time to develop for musicians. This fact leads to the conclusion that Wanzwa have spent much time on their art, working out the kinks so that they wouldn't even make an appearance on their first release. The band's perfectionist nature, in this regard, really leads one to think that if they continue to create gems such as this one, they can achieve whatever happens to be on their agenda, and granted, in much less time than many others in the genre.
The amount of sheer groove found here is a marvel to behold, and is indicative of the scene's growing unnecessary for vocals. These gentlemen accomplish so much through their complex time signatures and their diverse genre-meshing tendencies that it would be a shame for fans of the progressive scene to not at least give them a short round of their attention soon, for the fun to be had on Wanzwa is one that's only going to increase with time. To be part of the movement before it truly takes off is an exhilarating feeling, so come and join me; we'll have a blast.