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.
It’s safe to say I like this album. Each time I listened to it I fully enjoyed myself. Each song is good and almost each song is rather different from the next. Every song has something within it that makes it unique and gives it character. Each song breathes life and art, it’s rather hard to describe but it’s just the way this album makes me feel. It’s intense like a hardcore/punk/grind band, It’s catchy like a mainstream radio band, it has a ton of melody and influences from every single genre in the world. There are mellow parts on the album with clean singing that is done absolutely incredibly well. The music is so layered and done so well, it’s almost TOO good. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy an album from a band I’ve never heard of before as much as I am.
The first four songs alone are brilliant. They are captivating and just those 4 songs seem to slow down time. Which isn’t a bad thing because the music keeps you interested and entertained. It always feels like more time has passed than it really has, I get lost within the music. It’s not until the song “M.U.M.B” comes in when I finally come back to reality. M.U.M.B is sorta like the albums interlude, it separates the first part of the album and the second part. The song is very calm and peaceful. Then it cuts into “Apis Bull” which is like a tornado coming and picking you up and pulling you right back into the melodic chaos. You really need to expand your mind to fully appreciate and absorb everything EAPZ throws at you on this album. It’s constant back n forth, back n forth with extreme music writing to tranquil acoustic and electronic serenity then straight into a frenzy of drums, guitars and screams. This formula works very well on this album as the band seems to keep it fresh throughout the entire album, listen after listen. The intro to the song “The Great Explainer“, both musically and lyrically, is fucking awesome and one of my favorite songs on the album. The song “Kaspar Hauser Could See The Stars In The Daytime” is another favorite of mine, showcasing some of the best vocal work I’ve heard this year. Not to mention, one of the most killer guitar solo tones as well. I don’t know what they used but it always gives me goosebumps each time I hear that part. The last two songs continue this fun ride and closes the album out perfectly. Especially the last two minutes when the lyrics are screaming at you “I will suffer no more!!” repeatedly and then once that parts ceases it drifts off into a haze like trance that ends the album off just perfectly.
Tree of Tongues is astonishing to say the least. The trek through this album is moving and soul shaking. While the initial introduction of the band was a comparison to one of my favorite bands, Deftones, I do hear some influence here n there but there is so much more to them. Exotic’s sound is more their own than a copy of someone else. Yet it makes me want to listen to it repeatedly and it gives me that overall feeling of satisfaction that I love to get after hearing an album. You’ll get that feeling after every listen, Tree of Tongues is an unexpected masterpiece and I hope they go on tour soon to support this album. This band needs exposure and they damn well deserve it.
If you enjoy both screaming, intense music and calm melodic music with clean singing then this album is for you. I cannot stress enough how good this album is, it’s not typical metal, it’s not your typical radio rock. It’s truly some of the most unique blend of music and styles I’ve heard in a long time. I haven’t been this blown away since last year when I listened to Last Chance To Reason’s album, “Level 2“. Give it a listen, it’s highly recommended.
Pros: Great music, production and sound is phenomenal, vocals are out of this world, incredibly talented people making some damn fine music
Cons: After several listens, I could not find anything to complain about.
For fans of: Deftones, Muse, Last Chance To Reason & Junius
5 out of 5
The album will be available April 24th from Mediaskare Records.