Zoroaster – Matador (E1 Music)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

If there’s an “Atlanta sound,” Zoroaster are doing their best to move away from it. Frankly, this distortion-laden, one-string, simplistic doom thing has gotten out of hand and is reaching epidemic proportions now that everyone has found, and jumped on that bandwagon. Count Zoroaster out, who are following up their excellent 2007 Dog Magic with Matador, an album that effectively steps out of the way of the doom fray for something trippy and psychedelic.

Had Dog Magic come out this year, then it would have blended right in with the glutton of similar-sounding records from Howl, Black Tusk and the like. Instead, Zoroaster has tapped their inner-Kyuss for some desert rock boogie on “Ancient Ones,” which is perfectly placed after the spaced-out “D.N.R.” The expansive “Odyssey” gives another nod to Kyuss (think Welcome to Sky Valley), while the fuzzy “Trident” offsets the mostly foreboding and mystical mood of the album.

“Firewater” veers in the opposite direction, seeing the band rely on a spacious jam section that manages to not bore one to death (like most do). Rounding out the album is the mostly jam-based “Odyssey II” and standout “Matador,” which fully exploits the atmosphere and sideways vibe the band ushered in on “D.N.R.” A doom bookend perhaps? You know it.

A bold move by E1 Music (best known as home to In Flames, High on Fire, etc.) to sign a band like Zoroaster, who now, more than ever, are on the fringe of the doom movement. While it’s unlikely the band could move the number of units like a High on Fire, they’ve proven to be adverse, possibly unaware to what’s going on around them. Thank God, ‘cause a lot of this stuff nowadays is bordering on nauseating. This one’s a keeper.

www.myspace.com/thezoroaster

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)