Zu’s Carboniferous Reviewed

Cover of "Igneo"
Cover of Igneo

The latest from this heavy Italian free-jazz band is reviewed:

Here’s a hypothetical question for you- how many bass strings would you get through a month if you were Masimo Pupillo, the bassist in Italian trio Zu?

A lot, would be your answer, had you been listening to Carboniferous recently. I haven’t heard a bass sound as dense as the unearthly throb which hails the start of “Ostia”, the opening track of the jazz metaller’s latest opus, in a very long time. It’s an all-consuming deathly hum, menacingly clear and crisp yet absolutely huge sounding. Think Jesus Lizard, think Shellac, think hard house, think dub, think whatever you like, just think big.

Thankfully for the listener, there’s more than that (admittedly wondrous) bass sound going for Zu. The Italian trio are on their 14th album, but it seems that where last album Igneo started their slow acceptance into a larger audience, Carboniferous will be the one that cements it. Not because it’s released on avant metal guru and former Faith No More-er Mike Patton’s Ipecac label, nor because it features Patton on vocals, and probably not even because Melvins head honcho King Buzzo lends some guitar riffery to the churning “Cthonian”, but most likely because it’s about as friendly as Zu have yet been.

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