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ZENI GEVA

Experimental/Post Metal • Japan


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Zeni Geva biography
ZENI GEVA (this means "a guy who can do everything dirty for getting money") were formed as a three-piece rock project by a guitarist / vocalist Kazuyuki KISHINO (aka KK Null, ex-YBO2) and a drummer Ikuo TAKETANI (ex-Hanatarash) in 1987. Around their homeground Tokyo, Japan, they'd gigged energetically and in the same year their debut live album "How To Kill" was released via a Japanese independent label Nux Organization founded by Kazuyuki.

Their style and sound could get heavier and deeper, with participation of another guitarist Mitsuru TABATA (ex-Boredoms, Leningrad Blues Machine) in the following year. The three stars possessed such a strong intention for running progressive hardcore rock scene through, that they released the first studio album "Maximum Love & Fuck" (1988), that was re-released in 1989 with three tracks recorded with Tatsuya YOSHIDA, who replaced Ikuo as a formal drummer of ZENI GEVA from 1989 to 1991.

Steve ALBINI, a renowned US guitarist / engineer / producer, could be so attracted to their progressive / aggressive music style that he's produced some of their albums in Chicago or together gone on tours in US, Oceania, or Europe - especially in UK, they attended BBC's John Peel Session in 1994 and 1995. On the other hand, they supported Neurosis tour in Japan or joined Kraftwerk Tribute Album.

Tatsuya has come back to ZENI GEVA in 2009 and these three talents released "Alive And Rising" in 2010.

See also:

- Tatsuya Yoshida

Zeni Geva official website

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Buy ZENI GEVA Music


Freedom BondageFreedom Bondage
Alternative Tentacles 1995
Audio CD$41.18
$3.53 (used)
10000 Light Years10000 Light Years
Neurot Recordings 2001
Audio CD$9.27
$5.99 (used)
Experience the ConcretenessExperience the Concreteness
Import
Cold Spring 2007
Audio CD$5.73
$17.78 (used)
Desire for AgonyDesire for Agony
Alternative Tentacles 1993
Audio CD$19.99
$5.49 (used)
Total CastrationTotal Castration
Public Bath 1996
Audio CD$15.44
$15.00 (used)
Nai-HaNai-Ha
Nice Guy 1993
Audio CD$299.84
$14.99 (used)
Trance Europe ExperienceTrance Europe Experience
Import
Badlands 1995
Audio CD$312.84
$4.99 (used)
Live in AmerikaLive in Amerika
Import
Badlands 1995
Audio CD$29.99
$5.98 (used)
zg 45 rpm singlezg 45 rpm single
SKIN GRAFT
Vinyl$8.00 (used)
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ZENI GEVA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ZENI GEVA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 2 ratings
Maximum Love & Fuck
1988
1.00 | 1 ratings
Maximum Money Monster
1989
3.05 | 2 ratings
Total Castration
1991
3.00 | 1 ratings
Nai-Ha
1992
3.00 | 1 ratings
Desire For Agony
1993
3.05 | 2 ratings
Freedom Bondage
1995
3.10 | 2 ratings
10,000 Light Years
2001
2.50 | 2 ratings
Alive And Rising
2010

ZENI GEVA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
How To Kill
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In America
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
All Right, You Little Bastards (with Steve Albini)
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Trance Europe Experience
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Last Nanosecond - Live In Geneva
2002

ZENI GEVA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ZENI GEVA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ZENI GEVA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ZENI GEVA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 How To Kill by ZENI GEVA album cover Live, 1987
1.00 | 1 ratings

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How To Kill
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
1 stars 'How To Kill' - Zeni Geva (1/10)

Zeni Geva are a band whose sound has always been promising, but as a trend, their music started pretty horribly, taking a few albums before their sound started to get solid. 'How To Kill' is one of the first official recordings of this band, even before their debut album 'Maximum Love & Fuck' was released. As one may predict from what I just said about the upward trajectory the band went in, this is not a great way to hear the band. Considering that the first few albums were raw enough to sound like demos on their own, one may not even need to hear this live-recorded demo to get an idea of what it may sound like. Zeni Geva are by nature a very noisy punkish act, and with all of these being songs I had already heard performed on the apparently 'upgraded' full- lengths, I did not expect anything better from this. The live setting could be a very good place to see this band if you, the listener were actually there, but not hearing it second-hand. The recording quality is abysmal. The first two albums by this band are ones to stay away from, as so is this. Zeni Geva would not start getting interesting or even listenable until around their third album; 'Total Castration'.

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 Alive And Rising by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.50 | 2 ratings

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Alive And Rising
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Alive And Rising' - Zeni Geva (4/10)

So... after a nine year break from recording, Zeni Geva are back with another album. Led by the living legend KK Null- who has built up a very dedicated fanbase in Japan and abroad- it is natural that an album by a band who has laid dormant for nine years would be met with quite a bit of anticipation. Although I was not even aware of the band at the time they came out with this comeback, I can imagine that listeners may have been a little disappointed by what they had apparently waited nearly a decade for. It is not so much that the music here is much different from what they had done back in their day; quite the opposite, actually. Although this is clearly marketed as a comeback record of sorts, this is merely a re- recording of purely old material from older albums. My heart goes out to anyone who was excited for a new Zeni Geva album to come out.

Zeni Geva decided to take songs from all over their discography, recording them again and giving it a shiny new album cover. Really, the songs here are some of the best that Zeni Geva did back in the day, so for all intents and purposes, 'Alive And Rising' can be considered a best-of album. For what its worth, the new recording of these tracks gives them a slightly new dimension, although don't expect any sort of modern production here. This is still a very lo-fi Zeni Geva, and I would even say that the vocals have an even muddier production here than they ever have. The instrumentation (being the guitars and especially the drums) have been nicely improved on here though. The music is a noisy blend of sludge, doom, and math rock. Ultimately, it ends up sounding alot like the schizophrenic ramblings of King Crimson, with some added heaviness.

KK Null's vocals were arguably the best thing about the band's earlier work, and I would say that the muddy recording of his vocals takes away from the album. If things sounded a little clearer on all fronts, than 'Alive And Rising' would be alot more valid as a comeback for these guys. Instead, the changes here aren't nearly as noticeable as they should have been, and as a result, 'Alive And Rising' is really only an album I could recommend to fans of the band, or perhaps someone who has never heard them before. A damned disappointing album, if even only for the fact that there is no original material here.

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 10,000 Light Years by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.10 | 2 ratings

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10,000 Light Years
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars '10,000 Light Years' - Zeni Geva (6/10)

The final album of this band before they went on a nearly-decade long hiatus, Zeni Geva's '10,000 Years' is the first album where the band's progressive rock tendencies really show through. While this band has never been a stranger to the weird or experimental, this has been an album that has really shown me the influence these guys took from the 1970's prog rock scene, particularly the jarring sound experimentation and guitar work of King Crimson. Zeni Geva have never been a subtle band by any degree, and the music on '10,000 Light Years' continues to be heavy and noisy, but this was still the most refined thing that the band had done to date. Fronted by the legendary Japanese musician KK Null, Zeni Geva's seventh album would temporarily end their career on a relatively good note, although I still don't find myself all too drawn towards the sort of music that they make.

Contrary to most previous efforts by this band (particularly their earlier work) in which much of the sound was shared between the strange guitar riffs and KK Null's distinctive 'samurai bark', '10,000 Years' is a largely instrumental album, and alot of the music here relies on frantic lead playing that sounds like a noisier incarnation of King Crimson's Robert Fripp. What vocals that are here however generally fall into the spoken word category, or somewhat conventional growls. This is yet another development by the band in any case, I am used to hearing relentless shouts and howls from the frontman, as well as noise that obscures most of the melodies, or whatever may otherwise have been in the music. Surprisingly enough, I would consider '10,000 Light Years' to be a surprisingly refined album. This is a very relative term of course; the guitars and particularly the bass is still raw and dirty, but the mixing allows every instrument to be heard well. Something here that stands out but never did on earlier albums is the drumming here. There are some great percussive rolls here and it keeps the energy high here.

Being a mostly instrumental album now, this has actually made the band alot less monotonous. I have said many times before that KK Null's vocals have been the best part of this band, but here, the inherent lack of vocals allows the instruments to shine in a way they never have before. I could easily consider this to be my favourite Zeni Geva album to date, even though many of these tracks don't really stand out from one another. Every once in a while, a strange experimental section with keyboards or something else unexpected comes into the sound and provides a refreshing change from the sludgy rhythms and doodling guitars, but for the most part, this album keeps the unsettled, heavy vibe. A good album, but as always, I cannot consider the music of Zeni Geva truly great, despite having a memorable style.

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 Freedom Bondage by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Freedom Bondage
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Freedom Bondage' - Zeni Geva (5/10)

By this point in their career, Zeni Geva had basically developed into the band they were destined to be, a sludgy and noisy band that was not interested in making pretty music of any sort. While I can safely say at this point that the music of Zeni Geva does not fit into my personal tastes, some of the band's later material does have some very interesting material on it, a far-reaching improvement from their earliest material, which I couldn't consider anything short of garbage. Following what I've been told is the band's 'classic' record 'Desire For Agony', Zeni Geva came out with 'Freedom Bondage', an album with significantly less memorable songwriting, but a little more experimentation and variety to it. Many of the individual experiments heard on 'Freedom Bondage' are among the most interesting stuff that the band would ever do, but at the same time, Zeni Geva's music is a little too rough to have much sense of subtlety to it.

This noisy, garage-style style of rock or metal has never been something I've often really been into, and my enjoyment of the music that Zeni Geva makes may reflect that. Often, I feel their sound a little too jarring on the ears, without necessarily having the meticulous attention to texture and sound to make me feel that the numerous slip-ups and jolts of feedback are intentional, rather than faults of production. Of course, the sum here is greater than its parts, and I have never heard Zeni Geva branch out in so many different areas before; even their 'experimental' album 'Nai-Ha' only really seemed to focus on noise when it ventured forth. 'Freedom Bondage' is true to its contradictory name; much of this music feels rough and claustrophobic, but the musicians seem to have freed themselves to do whatever they feel. All too often, it feels like the times where they throw in a weird transition into noise, or acoustic guitars, or mellow vocals are out-of-place compared to the rest of the sludgy riffs that dominate the album.

KK Null's vocals here aren't quite as engaging as they used to be, seeming to have taken a more refined approach now. Sparing the listener the sort of barks and howls that ironically got me intrigued by the band's sound in the first place, his vocals are now alot less over-the- place, and I'd be incredibly disappointed if it weren't for the fact that the instrumentation of the band has really improved by this point. 'Freedom Bondage' is a decent album for someone looking for a lo-fi, noisy and dirty-sounding sludge album with a little experimental edge, but I can't say this sound is for me.

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 Nai-Ha by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Nai-Ha
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars 'Nai-Ha' - Zeni Geva (5/10)

Once again, the Japanese noise metal act Zeni Geva develops their sound into something closer to what I would ideally like them to be. Thus far in my experience with them, I have seen them develop from an unforgivably sloppy thrash act to a band that is taking their unique sound and dabbling with some interesting new things. 'Nai-Ha' is the band's fourth album, and its arguably the biggest change they have made in their sound since starting out. The earliest of this band could be compared to the punkish antics of Swans, but now, it is clear that Zeni Geva is really coming onto its own as an artistic element. True enough, this band had a pretty interesting sound going for them with their previous three albums, and on the third, it sounded like they were finally getting some use out of their originality even. 'Nai-Ha' is not necessarily much more enjoyable than 'Total Castration' was, but it shows them taking a much more ambitious approach to their music, including a much greater focus on their noise aspects.

On the version of the album that I am reviewing, the first two tracks, and last two tracks are combined into two longer pieces. Zeni Geva has had a history with longer tracks, but these would always result in monotonous repetitions of one or two riffs, ultimately leading me to frustration and boredom. Instead, here the songs here use longer periods to dabble in noise, instead of keeping their music focused on the riffs. Most of the sound here is created through the use of a guitar, be it the sludgy riffs, or the thundering feedback that composes much of the noise heard on 'Nai-Ha'. One of the things here that really surprised me however was the addition of something I never predicted Zeni Geva to have in their music; harmonious 'mellow' sections. Clean electric guitars picking arrangements that could even be considered 'pretty' was certainly not something I was expecting to hear from a band who I generally associate with an ugly sound,

I cannot say that the noise of this band is something that I really enjoy, although for the sake of appreciating textures in music, it can give a fleeting engagement. The compositions here are arguably the most complex that the band had done to date, although some of the fun on 'Total Castration' seems to have been lost in their translation to a more serious act.

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 Total Castration by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Total Castration
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Total Castration' - Zeni Geva (5/10)

Finally, after two albums of miserable- yet oddly promising- and monotonous noise, Zeni Geva would finally start sharpening up their sound with the third album 'Total Castration'. Although this Japanese band still maintained a very raw and jarring sound with their original brand of metal, I would finally start hearing something in the band's formula that was lacking prior to this; that being of direction. All the same, 'Total Castration' still illustrates that Zeni Geva would have a while to go before they started making music I could really enjoy.

As I have said, and would say in any discussion regarding this band, they have a interesting, and even unique sound to them that I have not quite heard before, but at the same time, the way they execute this sound is incredibly sloppy, and the writing usually leaves something to be desired. I could have gone on for ages about how the band's first two albums 'Maximum Love & Fuck' and 'Maximum Money Machine' needed more ideas in them, or how it did not seem fair to the band's riffs to be used over and over again until they became barely listenable. To that record, I could still say some of the same things about 'Total Castration', but I suppose Zeni Geva noticed some of the same things about their early music that I did, and therefore they did the best thing I could have hoped them to do; maintaining their style, while cutting off some of the unnecessary elements. Largely gone are the plodding repetitions of one riff, or the songs that attempt to pass on only one idea alone. It appears the band's skill with playing has even improved. All the same, none of this has been done to the degree where I would have really been satisfied. The potential I heard even from the beginning of this band's career has come a step closer to realization, but there is still a ways to go.

Zeni Geva are certainly a metal band first and foremost, but it would be difficult to categorize them in any particular category. They have elements of thrash, sludge, doom, drone, and even hardcore punk all thrown into the mix, and all of these styles merge into Zeni Geva's distinct style. The band's earlier work generally relied on straightforward thrash riffs that were made weird only by the odd, out-of-tuned way they were played. 'Total Castration' makes these sounds more out-of-tune, and while there has been no effort to make these riffs any more technical, there is a clear change where the band has sought to use strange chords, much like the Canadian band Voivod. The vocals here are also a huge part of what makes Zeni Geva distinctive; the vocals of KK Null are a highly Japanese-accented shout, that sounds like an angry samurai. The songwriting here has been largely improved, although there is still a large amount of repetition, especially during the last track; given the cute title 'I Hate You'. This can lead back to the monotonous sensation I experienced with the first Zeni Geva works, but at least the riffs are quite a bit more interesting.

'Total Castration' sees Zeni Geva make their first credible music, in my opinion. I had no love for the earlier stuff, and while Zeni Geva is not yet out of the woods with this one, I do find myself enjoying it leagues over anything they had done in the past. I can only hope they take these developments in their sound and run with them on future albums.

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 Maximum Love & Fuck by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 1988
1.00 | 2 ratings

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Maximum Love & Fuck
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

1 stars 'Maximum Love & Fuck' - Zeni Geva (2/10)

A fairly ill-fated debut from this band. Although all of the material here would be reprised and expanded upon on the equally bad follow up record 'Maximum Money Machine', this can count as the band's first legitimate effort; a half hour foray into the band's strange blend of thrash, punk, and something else entirely. 'Maximum Love & Fuck' is an awkwardly titled mess that shows potential for the band's sound even early on, but as far as their earlier work is concerned, I am really not finding myself drawn towards what they are doing. Despite an original sound and some interesting vocals, a very sloppy execution and some monotonous songwriting makes this an album that is only made bearable by its brevity.

To keep it brief, Zeni Geva takes some decent thrash/punk riffs that are pleasant enough in their rawness, and draws them out into longer pieces. To put it more bluntly, they take halfbaked ideas and then repeat them incessantly until they become barely listenable. On top of this monotonous instrumentation are the vocals of KK Null, which can be anything from screeches to clean singing to shouts to growls and grunts. Although that may not sound all too pleasant either for some reading, it is actually the most exciting thing that Zeni Geva have to offer. The vocals are not necessarily pleasant to listen to, but they are always interesting, and gives the band a unique flair that they may otherwise not have had.

This would be considered more of an EP by today's standards, and while I could tell you to check out 'Maximum Money Machine' for a more complete album experience, it is just as bad, but longer. It may be the best idea just to skip the band's early material, and check out some of their later stuff, where I think they start getting quite a bit better.

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 Maximum Money Monster by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 1989
1.00 | 1 ratings

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Maximum Money Monster
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
1 stars 'Maximum Money Monster' - Zeni Geva (2/10)

In my experience with avant-garde or experimental music of virtually all varieties, there is music that I may despise at first, but slowly grows on me, revealing new things to me, the listener as I invest more time and thought into it. With this precedent in mind, I will often give these more adventurous artists a fair bit more time to figure out if I like them than the typical band, who may generally sound enough alike stuff I have heard before to make a fairly painless judgement. With quite a bit of 'strange' music that I don't quite understand at first, I may not always come to love it, but at the very least, I find a greater appreciation for the album as time goes on.

This unfortunately, is not one of those albums.

Zeni Geva are a heavy metal band for Japan who, among other things, can be said to have a fairly unique sound to them. To my ears, it crosses me as being some sort of hybrid of freaky Japavant quirk and classic thrash metal, and there have been times when I have liked the music that the band makes. After all, especially in a day and age where there are virtually millions of bands out there, a little originality goes a long way. Sadly, the musical enjoyment is not here on 'Maximum Money Monster', and there are quite a few things I likely would have rather listened to than this.

What we have here is fairly functional, yet generally subpar guitar riffs that are reminiscent of thrash or even punk music being monotonously repeated throughout each track. On top of that, we have the wailing Samurai yells of vocalist KK Null, who is above and beyond the most distinctive and enjoyable aspect of this band. His diverse style of singing and shouting gives Zeni Geva a very Japanese sensibility to them naturally, and its such a shame that there is such uninspired songwriting and execution to go along with it.

To Zeni Geva's credit, the guitar riffs are given a slightly twangy tinge to them that somehow reminds me of Voivod, but this is largely where my compliments end. Largely, its not even the quality of the riffs themselves- which are nothing spectacular- but rather the way they are used. The sixteen minute 'Slam King' should be a perfect way to illustrate this. Throughout most of this plodding monster, one singer riff is repeated, with the vocalist doing the same chant overtop. While I get the picture that is meant to be 'hypnotic' or whatever, it is really, really not working for such a raw and filthy sound. There is virtually no sense of build up, nothing to justify sitting through all of it.

While the other tracks here are much shorter, they generally follow the formula of monotony, taking riffs that weren't even that great to begin with, and then overusing them to the point of nausea. I would stay away from this one.

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 Desire For Agony by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Desire For Agony
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars 'Desire For Agony' - Zeni Geva (6/10)

Zeni Geva is an experimental band from one of the most quirky and experimental places in the world; Japan. First being introduced to the metal of this country through the avant-styles of Sigh, I had an idea of the distinctive sound that had emerged from the island nation. Zeni Geva are most certainly an extreme metal band, but as far as their fifth album 'Desire For Agony' goes, it may be a little difficult to throw them into any one subgenre. There are aspects of death metal, thrash, sludge, and doom here, and they are all fused together into an album that is enjoyable and fun enough to listen to, although the album has not been anything impressive.

Zeni Geva do have an interesting sound to them, and I found myself wondering while listening to 'Desire For Agony' what style of metal this could fall into. This is not a band who takes a bunch of styles and than lines them up, diving into each in sequential order. Zeni Geva fuses them together into one relatively original sound that holds fairly steady for the entire album. The music here rarely has much melody to it, instead depending on the strangeness and textures of the sounds to make the music enjoyable. Although 'Desire For Agony' is a worthy listen though, there is not much here for a listener to cling onto, even after several listens. While the style here is promising, the songwriting is not particularly great, and with the notable exception of the vocalist (whose very Japanese style of 'extreme' vocals), the musicianship is not anything really impressive.

I would love to hear more of this band, but 'Desire For Agony' has me thinking that while Zeni Geva has a wonderful foundation set in place, the execution may need to be worked on, in order for the excellence to emerge from their work. Keep in mind that this is my first experience with the band, so it will only be a matter of time before I seek out the rest of what this Japanese act has to offer.

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 Alive And Rising by ZENI GEVA album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.50 | 2 ratings

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Alive And Rising
Zeni Geva Experimental/Post Metal

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

3 stars Are ZENI GEVA a mixture with Speed Grindcore (like Napalm Death) and Avantgarde Progressive? What can they be denominated as?

ZENI GEVA, getting started as a progressive / hardcore project by a founder / guitarist Kazuyuki KISHINO (aka KK Null) in 1987, can be very active and naughty as previously I've felt. This album "Alive And Rising" was my first ZENI GEVA experience (shame :P) and lots of their videos I've checked, and come to this conclusion. This deep, impulsive sound pressure tied up with heavy twin guitar chains has never been changed, despite of changes of drummers. Furthermore, the current drummer is Tatsuya YOSHIDA, a powerful drum guru, who has had massive experience under a bunch of his progressive rock projects. Let me say they cannot avoid piling up heaviness and progressiveness.

Throughout the whole album, we can be drenched in the twin guitar sounds launched by Kazuyuki and Mitsuru TABATA (he did recommend this album to me, thanks man), dread voices, and Tatsuya's drumming that can throw us into complex, magmatic rhythm Renaissance. Sometimes they remind me Speed Grindcore like Napalm Death, A. C. (The second track "Disorganization" is just the example), and sometimes Noise RIO like Musica Transonic (one of Tatsuya's projects). Their instrumental technique is beyond the words (always been frozen with astonishment), and their power can let me remain opening my mouth, with chilling knife-edged sharpness.

Anyway, back to the paragraph first I've mentioned. Guess each member should go ahead toward his own cornerstone, different from another one. Mitsuru's mentioned that they'd played progressive rock, but I wonder how Kazuyuki consider. Suppose he consider they'd played progressive hardcore (namely, hardcore tinged with progressive, not progressive seasoned with hardcore)? Their mysterious music goal can confuse me and stuff me into tough inner world. Maybe pleasant if I had nothing to think or were innocent, but various heavy chains run around my brain.

Oh, can this confusion with listening to this album be their intensive purpose against us? Then, they should be very clever, I wanna say indeed.

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