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Zeni Geva: 10,000 light years

29/05/09  ||  Khlysty

Do you like Japanese movies? No, I don’t mean anime, neither historical dramas with samurais and lots of seppukus. I mean those quirky movies happening in modern Japan, movies that show to us westerners what it is to live today in the land of the Rising Sun? These movies that, when finished, they leave one with the impression of having understood absolutely zilch? Those are the movies I’m talking about and all this intro is here so that I can tell you that Zeni Geva is something like that: quirky, expressionistic to a fault and almost incomprehensible, at least at first listen.

Zeni Geva comes from Japan, the band’s name roughly translates into “Money Violence” and it’s the brainchild of one Kazuyuki Kishino, better known as KK Null. The band has been described as a “power trio”, with KK Null on guitar, occasional vocals and general dementia, Mitsuru Tabata on guitar and, as of 2001, drummer Masataka Fujikake. Their music is not easy to pinpoint, though, as the band has forged since 1986 a very idiosyncratic and lonesome path in the annals of heavy music. The best description I can give to Zeni Geva’s style is that it’s the bastard offspring of a gangbang with Slayer, King Crimson, early Helmet, latter-day Black Flag, Motörhead and Loop taking part, after having consumed vast amounts of speed and psychedelics.

Does it sound bizarre? Hell, bizarre is Zeni Geva’s middle name. Does it sound heavy? Oh, man, you can’t even begin to get how heavy. “10,000 Light Years” is like a flood of sound, breaking the levee of conscious perception and moving towards the subconscious with the power of a rabid pit bull and the grace of a katana slicing feathers in the air. The music contained in here has incalculable density, although it’s been played by only three people and recorded in an almost “live in the studio” way. Each and every song contains a myriad of details, hidden over, under and in between its very ugly and disturbing surface.

Stop-start parts appear out of nowhere, only to disappear again after a couple of meters. Guitars shred, scream, squeal, smash and clash with each other and the impressively recorded drums (thanks to Steve Albini). Vocals (that seem to belong to a blood-maddened ronin in the middle of a slaughter) come and go, adding another layer to the bloodshed. Rhythmically speaking, Zeni Geva seem to deliberately chose awkward time signatures, that during each song mutate, decay and reappear, only to be recombined again in a blink of an eye. Effects (coming mainly from the Nullsonic, an arcane contraption devised by KK Null and mainly used in his personal projects) permeate every song, giving it a VERY disturbing ambiance. And, well, all of this lasts less than 39 minutes.

The music is extremely confrontational and ferocious, leaving very little breathing space for the listener, only to bring back the dissonance and ugliness full force. BUT, after a couple of listens, one cannot but admire the sheer force of the music, the compositional brilliance and economy, the incredible informational density compacted into 3-to-6-minutes songs. This is not technical wankery, or expositional bullshit. This is heavy music, done with passion, flair and intelligence. This is what most “tech metal” or prog metal bands should be doing, if they have been able to work within the strict context applied by Zeni Geva. This is this is the quintessence of what I admire in heavy music: the ability to be, at the same time, smart, powerful, eclectic, economic and really fucking heavy. Banzai!

8,5 Japanese crazy fuckers driving 10 blood-soaked swords into the bodies of stupid gaijin who think that they can play heavy music.

  • Information
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Neurot Recordings
  • Website: www.kknull.com
  • Band
  • KK Null: guitar, vocals, nullsonic
  • Mitsuru Tabata: guitar, guitar synthesizer
  • Masataka Fujikake: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. 10,000 Light Years
  • 02. Implosion
  • 03. Blastsphere
  • 04. Interzona 2
  • 05. Tyrannycide
  • 06. Last Nanosecond
  • 07. Hazchem
  • 08. Auto-Fuck