Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Full Length Review: Zebulon Kosted "Never Return Again" (Hammerkrieg Productions) by Jorge A. Trejos

Band: Zebulon Kosted
Location: Missoula, Montana
Country: USA
Genre: Avant garde black metal
Full length: Never Return Again
Format: CD, digital
Label: Hammerkrieg Productions
Release date: September 9, 2019
I felt at first moderately lazy to review this album when I saw that the list of songs brought cuts that touch the 11-minute long. The only idea seemed soporific to me. I thought, what's with the band's name Zebulon Kosted? Sounds weird, it can be a proper name or a pun; when I asked Google, Kosted gave 0 results against 3 results for Zebulon; whose meanings were 'honored' and 'place of residence', this didn't make much sense, but neither did the following: Jacob's tenth son in the Old Testament was called Zebulon and last, in urban language, a Zebulon is the name given to a dude with a sausage as big as Mandingo's.
Anyway, I just wanted to review something cool, standard and properly handed. And you know, the generic average of many other one-member black metal band is not very promising, except for some exceptions to the rule, of course. I was in the dilemma; whether to procrastinate or press PLAY. I did the second and the first thing that sounded was the arpeggio of a crunchy guitar that gave way to a theme at mid-pace tempo, with a taciturn riff that repeats itself as a funeral procession.
If I put it in words or images: I-X (this is the title of the first track; in fact, all songs have Roman numerals) evokes a cosmic fakir came from Arcturus, playing an interstellar flute who turns the stars in cobra who make their bifid tongues crunch. It feels like a trance and only the first four minutes have passed and I already feel the sound journey of Zebulon Kosted. When out of nowhere, this hypnotism effect that has me in the shadows is abruptly stopped by the scintillation of guitar tremolos, blast beats and a rough voice that buckles our belt, and warns us we're about to “Never Return Again", then we face an arctic Black Metal storm with Doom cyclones between; that threaten to make us lose at night, buried under tons of hail and snow...
In a Grosso mode, that's more or less experienced when the first 50 minutes of this album are heard; from then on, a series of instrumental and atmospheric songs begins, with classical guitars, clean vocals, choirs, keyboards and ambient sounds that announce the sting of winter. This will not be an album for everyone, it is far from it. This records demands special attention because we are facing a type of interdimensional sonic experiment, the First dimension is chaos and destruction: Black / Doom; the second dimension is ritual, acoustic, melancholic and atmospheric.
I had never heard Zebulon Kosted before, it surprised me to learn the band, founded by Rashid Abdel Ghafur (who plays all instruments, including a real drum kit, which earns this solitary prolific dude an extra point) in Missoula, Montana, has been releasing albums independently and constantly since 2000. This guy has released 23 full-length albums and a good dozen of splits. The majority of Zebulon Kosted productions are ultra-limited and hardly exceed one hundred copies. For example, "Never Return Again" was released on a limited 50 CD pressings, manufactured by the Hammerkrieg Productions label, specializing in Black, Atmospheric and Dark Ambient underground bands.
As read in the info on this album, all the music was taken and re-recorded from their previous album “To Leave and Never Return” of 2018, hence the songs are longer because it seems, they were also merged. Finally, this album is dedicated to Hildegard von Bingen, a former prophetess and canonized nun in 2012; who has a very particular history, but too broad to deal with it here, I will just say that nowadays is embrace by feminist or LGBT communities, she created his own alphabet, the Lingua Ignota, considered a possible precursor of Esperanto. She was also a pioneer of opera and many consider her the first Rock star in history, but, come on' wasn't Rock n Roll a true invention of the horned one? –Jorge A. Trejos

Rashid Abdel Ghafur: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. I \ X
2. II \ III
3. IV \ V
4. VI \ VII
5. VIII \ IX
6. I (TLANR Bonus Track)
7. II (TLANR Bonus Track)
8. III (TLANR Bonus Track)
9. IV (TLANR Bonus Track)
10. V (TLANR Bonus Track)
11. VI (TLANR Bonus Track)
12. VII (TLANR Bonus Track)
13. VIII (TLANR Bonus Track)
14. IX (TLANR Bonus Track)
15. X (TLANR Bonus Track)

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