Exclusive Album Stream: Czar’s No One is Alone if No One is Alive
Czar‘s phenomenal debut album Vertical Mass Grave (streaming on Bandcamp) effectively straddled the line between precise tech-y metal and earthy post-hardcore, and this one stupid guy here at MetalNoGood was so impressed that it ranked quite high on his 2011 year-end list. After seeing the band destroy live this Spring on its stint touring with legendary Killing Joke, I too was thoroughly converted.
Now the Chicago trio is back with another stellar offering, thankfully adhering to an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” mentality and applying the same production elements (including producer Matt Talbott from Hum) that made Vertical Mass Grave so powerful. The songwriting has been stripped down in certain regards — a handful of parts in this collection of songs are leaner/meaner than previously, even opting to straight-up punk out at times — and further evolved in others (for example, the band has added a few black metal-esque passages that open up the stylistic palette to new terrain).
Any which way you slice it, these guys slay in a manner than feels unique to them, an oft-overlooked and sought-after quality in today’s heavy music landscape.
Drummer Dan Brill continues to pummel his skins with the sharpened frenzy of a sabretooth tiger who’s been ferociously holding court behind the kit since birth, yet with an intelligent, groove-heavy ease that employs plenty of delicious syncopated treats for us prog-hungry nerds (check out a playthrough of new song “Aortic Flower” on our new sexy little sister site, Gear Gods).
Guitarists Brian Elza and Jason Novak blend their tasty licks and meaty riffs together so well that I don’t even notice the absence of a bassist; instead, the complementary nature of the various guitar parts create moments that feel like comfortable horror stories unfolding around the campfire. And the additional tinge of throaty hardcore bleed in Novak’s vocals this time around ups the toughness factor in spades. By the time the band kicks into a bold cover of The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” — complete with unexpected black metal chorus in lieu of the stony groove that made the song so famous — it’s hard not to wonder what will come next.
With upcoming local dates opening for Godflesh and Morbid Angel, it seems folks are finally, thankfully, taking notice of this amazing creative force known as Czar. Get down.
Czar’s No One is Alone if No One is Alive is out now. Get it here.