Spanish band DZÖKER have been making a buzz in the underground scene for quite some time now with the release of their debut album Nazca. Let’s see what the fuss is all about.
‘Free Living’ opens up with a jagged-sounding lead that goes against the rhythm, which offers a promising start before revealing itself to be a melodic, punky three-chord piece. It’s pretty standard and systematic, and makes me feel like this part of an EP instead of a full-length.
The second track starts off with an impressive time signature shift that was very original. From there we’re treated to a bluesy and heavy riff that loops. The bridge isn’t as impressive as the rest of the track though; felt very repetitive for a fast-paced banger.
By track three I began to detect a theme to the album: badass intros with killer time signatures that blend into some thrash like riffs. The use of flanger is impressive since it brings to mind a buzz saw. The guitar solo before the mid-tempo bridge in the middle is noteworthy for its prominent use of the lower strings, something you don’t hear much in metal. The breakdown that ends it is pretty vicious, but there’s something missing. ‘Think’ definitely showcases the band’s instrumental abilities, but only because of its length.
The heavy and bluesy riff that starts ‘Light in Darkness’ makes a great intro, highlighting Dzoker’s stoner influences, but the effect is lost when it gets melodic. The bass solo after the first verse suggests a slow and groovy jam is to follow but instead, it leads to an extensive guitar solo. As a surprise it’s somewhat pleasant, but it would have been nice to have a little more consistency. Listening closely to the end of the song reveals the bassist’s prowess, who is unafraid of using the rest of the fretboard, even during a guitar solo.
‘Acid Rain’ starts with a sample of a city going up in flames before kicking off into the song. You can hear the 80’s thrash influence here, and there’s a notable lack of sudden time signature change here, making it one of the more stable songs on the album. There’s no shortage of instrumental sections and guitar leads here.
Next is ‘Black Poison’. It’s an interesting intro, harmonically speaking, but the tempo feels a little off. The groovy riff that follows resolves this. The instrumental section here is a solid head-bobber that soon transforms into a thrash standard.
‘Blood’ follows and is another solid number with a groovy beat and bassline to keep your head moving. The guitar solo in this song is a pretty badass offering of rabid blues.
‘Wink Me’ begins with more flanger and a lengthy instrumental segment. It’s one of the slower songs on the album, moving consistently on a solid time signature of 4/4. There’s a strong alternative influence here, and is reminiscent of some 2000’s alternative rock with its mixture of groove and melody.
With a name like ‘Oil at 3000 RPM’ you’d expect this track to be the fastest on the album. Instead, it’s a groovy mid-tempo number. There’s a good amount of groovy breakdowns that offer the feel of a burning engine, and the guitar solo at the end is by far the most varied on the album.
‘Hair’ is the final track on Nazca and is determined to send the album off with a bang. It’s packed with aggressive riffs and grooves, and no shortage of guitar solos and breakdowns to cap it off. Not a bad way to end an album.
Final Thoughts: Nazca isn’t a bad first album, but it does have some faults. For one, the vocals are one of the weaker points of the album, and the song structure feels inconsistent-sometimes there’s a whole lot of repetition, other times the time signature changes in a very jerky manner. There’s a lot of potential with Dzoker, though, and they have a good sound. Until their next release.