Review Summary: Zeta's increasingly incendiary balancing act of post-hardcore, DIY-punk, and traditional Latin rhythm sections results in their most cohesive effort to date, offering proof that real magic can and does exist in the space between passion and intention.
Zeta (often referred to as The Zeta in the US) have been carving a legend out for themselves since 2003, starting in Puerto de La Cruz, Venezuela.
The band spent a decade building a following and finding success in South America's massive cluster of DIY scenes, and has spent the last several years touring the US.
Is Magia Infinita the climax of this legend ? Or is it merely a well constructed, organic, and heavy as hell expression of nearly all that we share in human existence ? What could possibly make a plausible case for either ? Zeta take their emotive, ritual-like sound to new heights, with new levels of concentration, achieving a voice that speaks between languages and genre in a way few bands achieve, with a level of compassion and resolve. Think Mars Volta and Mastodon. But also think Propagandhi and RX Bandits.
The album credits two percussionists and a drummer, not including the casual percussion the guitar players provide; a near religious respect for rhythm may in fact be the key in unlocking the secret of Magia Infinita's power. Main vocalist and guitar player Juan Ricardo Yilo has stated in recent features including Audiotree that much of it in fact comes from Dani Saude, the bands founding member and second guitar player, who's droning yet catchy guitar lines are soaked in meticulously timed delays.
Songs like "Perder" and "Resignar" fill the listener with haunting, somber echoes a la later Soundgarden or Screaming Trees. "Resignar" and the title track in particular tread the strange, fertile ground between folk music and heavy grunge. As listeners attempt to assign genre or meaning to the songs, language barriers dissolve, and the intent of the album entrances them. Ones eye get heavy. One feels ones self in the grand scheme of it all, a small, yet infinite piece of magic.
Is magic inherently perfect? No, in fact. And for that matter, perhaps Magia Infinita adopts a similar nature. Repeated listens reveal an incredible level of production and attention to detail, allowing for the rare "the louder, the better" phenomenon to take hold, and actually work; the dynamic guitar work between Yilo and Saude continues to shine without being drowned out by percussion or bass. But some takes could definitely have been louder; some of the albums most exciting guitar work is revealed only at higher volumes. "Sufrir" and "Completar" contain occasional solos from both guitarists that you might not hear the first time around. In fact, the record in general could have just been a little louder. But the dynamic the band and producer Marcel Fernandez (Chevelle, Avenged Sevenfold) have achieved for this record is Albini-esque, whether the band is at break-neck speeds or at it's most ambient and enchanting.
Zeta has always been consistent in merging the worlds of experimental punk and future jazz with DIY ethos and socially conscious overtones, but Magia Infinita is a portrait of the band breaking through barriers to collectively deliver a powerful message, and incredible album, without walls or frontiers.