Macumba o Muerte, ZA!

Acuarela Records, Spain
Rating: 75

By Carlos Reyes

ZA! is a three member band from Spain known for distorting just about any sound that gets on their way, but not only they distort melody with clashes and obtrusive complementary noise but through the years of existence they have sharpened their explosive vision to something more than just a disorder of sounds, styles and speed. This is definitely an album with international appeal; the label is selling it as a band “following the steps of El Guincho” and despite the lousy marketing tool, they might just be right. Za! also blends tropical music and even surveys cultures. Macumba o Muerte is a western-like confrontation between free jazz and hard rock; it’s fortunate in its explosive moments (“Doble Cobra:La Colera de Mister/El Sopapo Indio) and sometimes it comes out frustrating as it stretches the argument for way too long (Mobutu #1 & #2). The opening track comes in quadruple narrative: “Buggamaistah, Spazzfrica Ehd, Papa Dupau vs Ceace”, a jaw-dropping introduction with multi-layered sequences and savage disclosures. What makes the album far more interesting than just the conflictive sounds is where this war takes place; Middle Eastern sites are the witnesses of the attacks and quickly involve themselves as a civilian resistance whose vocals give a recurrent suspension to all that noise. This proposal only elevates itself as it captures the local sounds to give the disarray a bit of direction, such in the double feature “Doble Cobra” which is illustrated like a rapid chase at market where merchants sing along. In tracks like “Poligano Industrial” and “Planta Carnivola” the band struggles to adapt to its deserted and dry locations, both tracks are the album’s darkest moments and although experimental on the surface, they’re the easiest channels when trying to understand their intentions. Za! sounds more like Coconot than El Guincho, but it is hardly blissful, it’s actually a violent tormented ride as intriguing and asymmetric as its awesome artwork.