Just when you think you’ve heard everything that music has to offer, a band comes along to throw you in a hex and that’s certainly the case with ZULU’s debut full-length, A New Tomorrow. Melding hardcore to powerviolence whilst incorporating other genres finds this Los Angeles quintet exploring uncharted sonic spheres to produce a 15-track album that pulsates with a visceral rage.
With no hint of the coming storm, ‘Africa’ is an ambling interlude, a beautiful piece of music that entwines a native melody with classical piano that’s reminiscent of a Bach or Mozart piece, and the result is a hypnotic affair that floats like a balloon in a pale blue sky. However, ‘For Sista Humphrey’ is the pin to pop our bubble and brings us down to earth with a concrete parachute. It’s a real bruiser and throws its weight around like a welterweight boxer. With barely a pause for breath ‘Our Day Is Now’ is a blast of hardcore fury that’s akin to standing by an open furnace as waves of red-hot sonics sandblast your skin. But Zulu are a moving target that can’t be hit; just when you think you’ve got them cornered, they shapeshift, and ‘Our Day Is Now’ evolves into a doomy affair that attaches itself to the listener like an anchor to a drowning man.
Just like Black Sabbath, ZULU are a band whom fully understand musical dynamics and there’s plenty of light and shade on A New Tomorrow to give relief and contrast. But where Sabbath would employ acoustic passages to make their crushing sound heavier, ZULU are more inclined to employ jazz and soul, but it has a similar effect. In fact, this record is far greater in scope and listening to A New Tomorrow is like a hall of mirrors with sound fracturing and reflecting in a myriad of directions. It can often be disorientating (as with ‘From Tha Gods To Earth’) but it’s always arresting and this is an album that demands your full attention.
Self-produced and recorded at Zach Tuch’s (Trash Talk) studio, A New Tomorrow is aided by a sound that hits like a well-aimed punch to the plexus. When Anaiah Lei screams his vocals it is with an undiluted rage and makes for a common thread that runs through an eclectic album. Yet, despite its diversity and jarring genre shifts, A New Tomorrow flows smoothly and the rap-inclined ‘We’re More Than This’ nestles next to the pure metal of ‘52 Fatal Strikes’ (featuring a guest spot from Paris Roberts) effortlessly. With most of the songs clocking in at under two minutes, this album doesn’t hang around but closer ‘Who Jah Bless No One Curse’, a song of two halves, stretches our attention span, and from hardcore beginnings evolves into something more mellow and on an album that seethes with undiluted rage, offers a moment of peace and promise of redemption.
Debut albums rarely come as fully formed as A New Tomorrow and has set a new standard of heaviness that others can only hope to attain.
- A New Tomorrow is released via Flatspot Records on 3rd March 2023.
2. For Sista Humphrey
3. Our Day Is Now
4. Music To Driveby
5. Where I’m From (Ft. Pierce Jordan & Obioma Ugonna)
6. Fakin’ Tha Funk (You Get Did)
7. Shine Eternally
8. Must I Only Share My Pain
9. Lyfe Az A Shorty Shun B So Ruff
10. From Tha Gods To Earth
11. Créme De Cassis By Aleisia Miller & Precious Tucker
12. We’re More Than This
13. 52 Fatal Strikes (Ft. Paris Roberts)
14. Divine Intervention
15. Who Jah Bless No One Curse