With the birth of ZOAX less than a year ago, their debut offering, five-track EP ‘XIII’ is set to generate reaction far beyond the realms of comprehension stemming from their list of achievements already. With a line-up including former Axewound and Rise To Remain bassist Joe Copcutt, this quintet have an almighty pressure to launch a project that grooves with aggression and teases the ear for more rock than you can shake a stick at.
‘Bitter.Angry.Fake’ commences the record with an animistic introduction that instantly boasts vocalist Adam Carroll‘s exasperated range that compliments the track’s arresting riffs that engage the ear. Its an introduction that screams no nonsense. As the song placidly enters a mid-interlude of serenity through brushed cymbal sounds in co-existence with serene vocality and strums, it prepares you for the aftermath. A broody Deftones style breakdown greets you; a welcoming addition to an absorbing first glance.
This leads into ‘Burn It To The Ground’, and no, we’re not talking about Nickelback. Instead, you’ll seize a vigorous display of momentum that is pulsed into the record. It uses outbursts of riffs that whilst no, they’re not the heaviest around, they still pack punch and sophisticated delicacy, alongside authoritative vocals. The favoured placid nature featured in the first track also makes a welcomed appearance.
‘High’ begins to takeover and is undeniably is one of the EP’s focal points. Breakneck percussion, intertwined with guitar slides makes for a track that is catchy, catchy, and did we mention catchy? The chorus boasts to being no less than mesmerising live with its lyrics that intrigue in an instance. The common theme of elements of beauty and peace features too to calm the track before the storm.
Closer tracks ‘Jekyll Meets Hyde’ and ‘Mind Game’ certainly live up to the notion of a duel personality. ‘Jekyll Meets Hyde’ begins in a calm and collected Jekyll manner with 20 seconds of tranquil guitar strums. Before slowing building up to meet its other half Hyde, expressed through haunting, eerie riffs that are charged through gang vocals and an undertone of bloodthirstiness and misbehaviour. ‘Mind Game’ follows suit and takes no prisoners. Groovier riffs embrace you as gang vocals kick in with a merciless ‘Hey!’. As the track concludes, the vocals continue to bombard you with a memorable rawness and aggressiveness.
Overall, ZOAX have produced a debut EP that demands the attention of the masses and creates a stand-out first impression. Each track embodies powerful musicality that will undoubtedly launch them further into a successful career. Watch out, because ZOAX are here to stay.