About a month ago Alternative Press premiered the music video for Junius‘ song “All Shall Float“, one of the many terrific songs from the album “Reports From The Threshold of Death“. Their label finally released the video on their YouTube page and it’s available for anyone who happened to have missed out. I highly recommend listening to Junius, I usually listen to heavier music but this album is mesmerizing. If you like Muse & Deftones, you’ll greatly appreciate this.
The name itself, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo, is enough to spark interest in many things. Especially if it’s a rock band, with a name like that you HAVE to see what they are about. I think it’s an incredible strategy because it immediately makes you want to read about the band, listen to the band and see what they have to offer. Well, once the music starts, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo come in and give us exactly what we should expect for the rest of their new album, “Tree of Tongues“. It’s a forceful impact of energy and just a huge wall of sound that isn’t like what I usually listen to. I’m usually the death, black, grind and doom kind of guy. With a few exceptions of course so when I saw that EAPZ was compared to bands like Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan I was like “Yeah, fucking right. That’s some ballsy shit saying your sound is similar to their sound.” Well, they are pretty fucking close and so much more. Exotic Animal Petting Zoo’s “Tree of Tongues” is new, fun, fresh and really really really good. It’s an entirely new genre of music, due to the fact they have no barriers. The sound on Tree of Tongues is a unique sound and I am literally blown away after each and every listen.
Opening with a piano tune that reminds me of my days of playing Dragon Quest for hours and hours, Heritage begins elegantly and beautifully. The song itself, Heritage is very soothing and calming. Leaving the listener rather clueless as to what will come next. Well, if you’ve been paying attention you know what is next. Opeth’s first single off of the album, The Devil’s Orchard kicks on and it’s very old school styled metal meets Opeth charm. This sets up the tone for the rest of the album, no doubt about it. Heritage is an album released this year that sounds like something you would hear on vinyl 30 years ago. Just listen, you’ll agree it has that old school vibe from the 70′s.
The song is done really well and it’s been stuck in my head for days now. While the rest of the album is quality as well, I feel as if Opeth blew their load quite early opening with this song. I mean the bass gallop riff at 4:53 alone is catchy enough to get stuck in my head for a couple of days. After enjoying this song so much, it’s hard for the rest of the album to catch up. I feel The Dark is a good song however I’m still blown away by the last song that it doesnt even compare….time after time. Which is sad because it truly is a good tune to listen to and enjoy. It has that signature Opeth sound to it, very genuine. The next two tracks Slither and Nepenthe collectively are boring and I constantly lost interest in the album during these two songs every time I listened to it. Slither just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album. The tempo is faster and the song is just forgettable. Nepenthe was just boring and I felt like I was listening to some jam band at a coffee shop play together with no real sense of purpose or reason to be playing at all.
Häxprocess brings me back though with it’s subtle guitar playing and ambient feel to it. Almost feels like an Agalloch track in the beginning. The song flows gracefully and transitions into great section after great section. I really enjoyed the musicianship on this track. Famine is next and it’s really not my cup of tea until the slow jam at 4:57. That shit makes you headbang, even with the flute trying to ruin the moment. The Lines In My Hands is meh with the exception of some good bass riffs. Folklore is a good track with great composition and structure. Some catchy guitar playing and some classic Opeth elements added in. I love how the piano leads us into the second half of the song. Followed by a badass bass riff and into a strong finish. The song breaks out into an almost Muse type of thing (Knights of Cydonia comes to mind) and I gotta give it to Opeth, they pull it off nicely. Ending the album is a track called Marrow Of The Earth and it’s just as elegant and beautiful as the intro was. Finishing off the album with class, style and emotion.
I did enjoy this album, I think at times the band plays really good music. Some times it just feels like a jam band playing nothing catchy or remarkable. I appreciate the different angle they came at for Heritage. I understand what they are trying to do and I must applaud them for nailing it on the head in terms of execution. However, I feel there are only a couple of truly amazing songs on this album and the rest of them are only OK at best.
Pros: Some great gems on the album, love the use of piano throughout the album
Cons: Most of the tracks are forgettable, if you’re an old school Opeth fan….you may wonder what the fuck they are trying to pull
3.5 out of 5
Best Tracks: Heritage, The Devil’s Orchard, Häxprocess, Folklore, Marrow Of The Earth