AMN Reviews: Zevious – Lowlands (2018; Nefarious Industries)

New York’s Zevious is back with their fourth full-length album, Lowlands, scheduled for release on August 17. Not unlike on their previous efforts, this guitar / bass / drums instrumental power trio lands somewhere between math rock, prog, and metal, with a few hints of minimalist classical and jazz along the way.

The general approach here is that each track contains several well-defined melodies or riffs, variations of which are explored for some time before moving on. All are in the four-to-nine minute range, giving the group an opportunity to stretch without running any particular theme into the ground. While most of these efforts are up-tempo and rapid fire, Zevious employs doom-laden atmospherics as well.

Guitar Mike Eber combines power chords, speed-picking, and complex melodies. Bassist Johnny DeBlase booms and echoes whether following the leads or providing corresponding harmonies. Jeff Eber plays the drum kit with a dextrous urgency. As just one example of the amalgam of these parts, Sensor Recall begins with a heavy guitar theme accompanied by brutal bass lines. This approach trades off with more aggressive thrash-metal interludes and rapid-fire arpeggiated chords while the drums pound relentlessly.

King Crimson, Sonic Youth, Ruins, late-era Present, and Ahleuchatistas are some good starting points for comparisons. But Zevious is their own animal, and Lowlands is more than worth checking out for that reason alone.

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