Saturday 1 November 2014

ZOTHIQUE - S/T (Album Review)

ZOTHIQUE cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: August 2nd 2014
Label: Self Released

Zothique – Tracklisting

1.The Shadow of Linxia(临夏的阴影) 10:39
2.Hypnotic Kaleidoscope 10:09
3.AMOY 11:35


ZOTHIQUE is a psychedelic sludge metal quartet formed in 2011 in Tokyo, JAPAN by former members of the hideous crust punk outfits, Holy&Blight. ZOTHIQUE has been developing their unique blend of dirty sludge-crust riffage, psychedelic synthe-noise insanity and surreal lyrical vision with collages of bizarre soundscape that evokes disturbing time-space distortion. While they pull the range of obvious influence from bands like Ufomammut or The Doors, one describes their music as sort of bad tripped jamming by High on Fire with Hawkwind at the suicide forest.

However, ZOTHIQUE has so far failed to comfortably fit any of those reputation much thanks to the band's sonic-crazed keyboardist/noise generator Kenji Kuroda, who's been involved with countless of other projects, sessions and bands over the decades as keybordist, singer, noise artist, composer,and sound engineer including manic souled psyche-funk outfits Clippen Repone and his own industrial acid jazz project known as Darklaw. His enigmatic musical output sways from acid zonked prog-rock to the aggressively twitched freaked-out noise roars from the deepest basement of tokyo.

Their debut EP released from and following first album "Alkaloid superstar" are disturbing collision of filthy sludge-crust nightmare and psyche-keyboard noise assault, While their 3rd self-titled full length released on 2014 is more focused on slow paced dark and heavy with experimental use of field recording, acoustic guitar part, and atmospheric drone noise textured by Yu Iwasaki, also known as JAH EXCRETION, Tokyo-based psyche-ambient noise artist who has been member of ZOTHIQUE as bass payer since late 2013.

Shortly after taking part of the international doom/stoner/sludge compilation album "All the witche's day released by Trip thru records on July 2014 along with bands like Guevnna, Nepenthes, Oracle and Conan, ZOTHIQUE had supported U.K's blackened doom brigade Dragged into Sunlight for their first tour in Japan.

ZOTHIQUE's unending search for another dimension of heavy music is expected to be even more unexpected, hideously magnetic and nightmarish.


Shusuke Shimonaka(Guitar, Vocal)
Koji Ueno (Drum)
Kenji Kuroda (Keyboard, noise, sampling)
Yu Iwasaki (Bass and drone)


I first came across Zothique when I reviewed the All Witches Day Compilation which featured a ton of great Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal bands across the globe and I stated Zothique were one of the highlights. Low and behold, a couple of months down the line, Zothique released their new album which I was only made aware of recently.

Zothique's music is very hard to describe, so I will do my best as Japanese Metal/Hard Rock bands never play by the rules. So here goes, Zothique are a noisy psychedelic sludge stoner metal band with a few electronic rock vibes showing up from time to time.

Their 3rd album is more of an audio feast and experience than an album a Zothique create a lot of different styles with substance to match. The first track - The Shadow of Linxia(临夏的阴影) – starts off with a slow mid-tempo glitch-like pace before exploding into life with a loud wall of distorted noise coming at you. It makes for uncomfortable listening at times but still highly addictive. It has a Melvins experimental feel to it. Things that shouldn't work actually make a lot of sense. The vocals are weird as hell but that's the beauty of this track. It's so far out there you don't know what is going to happen next. Wait until the 4th minute when the heavy and violent pounding sludge metal riffs kick in. Zothique change from experimental musicians to experimental musical monsters with the power of noise as their primary weapon.

Second Track – Hypnotic Kaleidoscope – features more of the same bat-shit crazy experimental rock vibe though at a more slower and peaceful pace compared to the fist track. Well for the first 7 mins or so before the band unleash the crazy as hell rock persona’s for the whole world to hear. The Psychedelic Sludge Riffs come screeching in and there is no turning back. As Zothique blend glitch based doom and gloom atmospherics with brutal disturbing vocals that takes the album into darker and almost horrific territory.

Third and final Track – AMOY – is possibly the most straight forward song on the album but it's still weird as hell. Slow paced riffs that spells out DOOM with distorted confidence. Zothique know this is the last stand to make you a fan of their music. It's one epic ride that will test your patience. It's a hypnotic and twisted journey as you cannot turn away from the craziness going on around you. Epic stuff!!!

Zothique have created an excellent and dark as hell album that I can't recommend highly enough. These guys are in a league of their own.

Words by Steve Howe

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