Daniï¿½l : Whoever has not heard of Zoax before, can rub his hands together. These talents have a lot to offer for modern rock music. From their first EP, ‘XIII’, on, I was convinced of their potential. But by the time I had put ‘XIII’ aside, I hadn’t quite solved the mystery of its hidden powers. When Lords of Metal asked me to review the self-titled debut, of course I couldn’t refuse, and I saw it as a chance to get into Zoax again. It was time to try and solve the mystery: where does extremely fresh and innovative sound come from?
The band is a product of multiple traditions. While there has been a time when metal and punk outfits were concerned about nothing but being as raw and provocative as they could be, there is more room for technicality and aesthetics nowadays. Accessibility has become a real objective. The skeleton of a clear structure has been extended with the courage to add more intensity to the mix, instead of a piece that is chaotic and raw from the first tones on. And maybe precisely this is the revolution in the rock and metal industries of today.
But we must not be afraid that this makes for a loss in passion and honesty. Structure helps for telling a story. And it is exactly this what Zoax tries to do. With making up stories comes fantasizing, and that in turn requires a lot of inspiration. The more inspiration, and the broader the field of where it comes from, the better. I am inclined to draw the similarities with Chon, who on their newest album, ‘Grow’, have focussed on making a clean and technical release above all else. It is this kind of relentlessness that lives amongst the guys in Zoax too. Musically, however, Zoax shows more similarities to Leprous, the Norwegian progressive metal band. It radiates vulnerability, though the smallness of this often transcends into powerful play. And that doesn’t mean that the music is all too loud or too full, but its relative intensity to the modesty of the general sound makes for a true emotional explosion.
Adding up: Zoax is a party of purity, adventure and vulnerability, which collapses into a powerful play of intense and honest music at the right moments. With regard to this last quality, a line might even be drawn to a brand of modern hardcore bands, in the like of John Coffey.