Where to start with a band that sounds like Nitro Zeus… Nitro Zeus is currently a four-piece that hail from Queensland, Australia. Apparently struggling with line-up changes until finding vocalist Zichxyna in late 2017, the band are made up of Hurst on drums, James V on guitar and James T on bass.
A quick look at the ‘About Us’ section in their Facebook profile will clue you in on what Nitro Zeus is about, but to know what they sound like you have to listen to I, Anomaly. Not just one song, but the whole thing and not just once, but a few times.
There are a few interesting influences in the sound of Nitro Zeus, I think the band sum it up perfectly in their bio: “our music demonstrates our influences via atonal melodies, meandering percussion FLOUNDERING from tempo trying to assail the inept guitar passages with cymbals physically crashing from stands – scattering, self-indulgent passages of melody nosediving beyond mediocrity, a wall of white noise produced by clueless EQ settings, representing simply the peak of the overplaying, under-performing, monolithic try-hards.”
When I first chucked this on, I had no idea what to expect and the opening track and recent single All Fail made me almost immediately dismiss it as disorganised, out of time and out of tune garbage, thrown together in someone’s garage. The unique tone of Zichxyna, the use of odd harmonies, the loose sound of the band, was all a bit confronting to my ear at first. But the actual sound of the E.P. is strong, the production is clean and allows for the elements of each song to shine through. This brought me back to the E.P. with more of an open mind. Somehow, Nitro Zeus managed to sound good and bad, beautiful and ugly, at the same time, not something you encounter every day and it piqued my interest.
LTES is more a straightforward rock song but carries the unique sound of Nitro Zeus. Finding vocalist Zichxyna seems to truly be a godsend for the band. Their unique sound is heightened by her vocal delivery and when they work together it seems to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Sweet Sanity is intricate and lovely, but also has an eerie quality about it. Listening to it makes me feel like I am walking through fog-laden plain in Scotland, at night, during a full moon, hearing wolves howl in the background. Like I am appreciating the beauty in the landscape, while also fearing for my life and what is to happen next.
The Crawls of Parliament is another rock stomper. I say another, it doesn’t sound like any other track on the E.P. but it definitely sounds like Nitro Zeus. The fuzzy bass of James T drives the song forward weaving and linking with the dirty tones of James V on guitar makes for a solid track.
Augment is the last tack on the E.P. and carries the torch from Sweet Sanity while having its own personality. Haunting and atmospheric, building up to an impactful crescendo. The powerful vocal delivery, the lead guitar licks, splashes of keys, the slow doomy drums, this track has it all. A fantastic way to close out I, Anomaly.
After going through the five tracks on the E.P. I still had no clue what Nitro Zeus was, but I had a good idea of what they sound like, which is what you want from an E.P. It has so many different things going on that pulled my ear in strange and unfamiliar directions that putting them in a standard musical genre doesn’t quite fit, which I am sure is exactly what one of Nitro Zeus’ goals are. I’m still not sure whether I like it, but it is truly unique and well-executed. I look forward to hearing what a full-length release will capture.
Scoring this is difficult, I am not a fan of scoring anything as it always comes down to personal taste, especially with a sound as unique as Nitro Zeus. But I have to so 3.5/5 will do, not amazing but definitely not bad. Go and listen to it at least twice and make up your own mind.
Release Year: 2019
Reviewerd by Jonathan Hurley