ZORN: Destroyed, murdered. Denotes a catastrophe. From the Watership Down glossary of Lapine, the language of rabbits.
‘Zorn! Zorn!’ cried the dreadful squealing voice. ‘All dead! O ZORN!’ [ excerpt taken from Watership Down – a survival and adventure novel by English author Richard Adams, published by Rex Collings Ltd of London in 1972].
When all is said and done, The Riff reigns supreme.
Formed in Long Beach, California, in 2010 and led by vocalist/guitarist Bill Kielty, pulverising post-sludge trio O ZORN! have forged ahead through the best part of a decade, a noble but troubled force in pursuit of the ultimate heavy expression. A trio of veterans from the Long Beach underground scene, their story began as most do: jams, shows, demos and shirts. More importantly, as Bill and his comrades plied their nascent trade, they conjured a fearless and ferocious sound that moulded the very best of doom, sludge, hardcore and psychedelic extremity into a single, streamlined roar of gargantuan riffing power and fiercely focused angst.
Two years on from the release of their self-titled debut, O ZORN! are in an unforgiving mood on their long-awaited follow-up, Your Killer.
The general theme of the album is human suffering, in whatever shape or form that may be, says Bill. The distress from war and sickness. Hopelessness and homelessness. The search for something bigger and never finding it. The let-downs. Never finding or being loved. Getting suckered in. Substance abuse. Letting people down. Being let down. Accepting what you are, no matter how bad you look to others.
Heavy music for the heaviest of times: Your Killer awaits.
Not at all what you might expect, the fuzzy riffs that introduce the title track will raise an eyebrow or two. As it kicks in, O ZORN! Really come to life with a deliciously heavy rhythm that is part catchy and part destructive.
Casket and Cult Status then show off two different sides to O ZORN! One groovy, fast and ever so fun. The other a slower, drawling, grungy and doomy sound. Both equally brilliant, the latter’s brief guitar solo at the end getting the nod of approval.
Back to a higher energy and wilder sound with Loved, the vocals spitting fire before Bandini Mountain kills it with a powerful slower effort. It’s these songs that you will find yourself hitting the replay button on time after time.
Although truly there is little as dark-minded as what this band provide on the super-fuzzed out France on Foot. Although the hypnotic groove of Ratts and the punky fire of Ribeyes are damn fine tracks too.
An unusual and unexpectedly great album closes out with one last belly full of heat with Secret Santa. Far from the festive treat you might be thinking it is with that kind of title. Instead it’s a ferocious and daringly catchy heavy finish.
O ZORN! – Your Killer Full Track Listing:
1. Your Killer
3. Cult Status
5. Bandini Mountain
6. France On Foot
9. Secret Santa
O ZORN! - Your Killer (Seeing Red Records)
The Final Score - 9/10