Tue 6th June 2006
Zonderhoof is an instrumental band residing in Wales. Their self titled demo contains three tracks of instrumental music that fuses elements of hardcore, sludge and doom. There's a distinctly direct, no nonsense quality to these songs, which deliver some solid riffs with a strong rhythmic quality. Their overall sound is a little reminiscent of early Neurosis with a hint of Keelhaul, albeit somewhat stripped down and simplified. It's notable that Zonderhoof steer well clear of current trends, choosing to forego syrupy post rock melodies or off kilter timings and remain wholly focused on delivering heads down, straight up, heavy riffs. It's as if Zonderhoof have taken the riff centric sound of thrash and hardcore, cut the speed in half with a hacksaw and surgically grafted it to the decaying corpse of contemporary doom.
The band have consciously chosen to keep their music free of vocals and whilst it's an interesting approach, I do feel that these songs would benefit from some extra layering or tempo changes to hold the listener's attention. I definitely think it's admirable that Zonderhoof have chosen to avoid the use of vocals, but if they are to hold their own without the aid of a vocalist, some extra depth and complexity may be needed to hold peoples attention.
Regardless of these minor gripes, this is a damn solid effort that bodes well for future releases. If Zonderhoof can continue to flesh out their sound they'll definitely be turning heads with their next release.