. issue III : ii .

by barathron

. artist : in zaire .
. album : white sun black sun .
. year : 2013 .
. label : sound of cobra .
. grade : a.


Italian quartet In Zaire describe themselves as “Psychedelic Afro Beat from Italia,” but that’s only a small part of what this ball of fire is all about. Neo-global furnace blasts, Krautrock, space rock, psych rock…and more…compress and explode on their first full-length, 2013’s White Sun Black Sun via Sound of Cobra Records. Drenched in combustion, with an almost-punk ferocity, In Zaire literally explode out of the gate with “Sun.” When an outfit comes out with such intensity, it can make you nervous thinking that they shot their full payload up front, but the more that White Sun Black Sun burns, the deeper In Zaire go, seemingly never running out of fuel.

“Sun” instantaneously goes supernova, threatening to consume the pilots who have absolutely no intention of re-entry on this flight. Fears are laid to rest as “Moon” redefines that body as anything but lifeless. It threatens to alter all orbits with a churning galactic chug that heads right into the eye of the vortex, spinning a wicked corkscrew drive. New life? There’s more of it on “Mars,” with a swampy guitar dancing over a tinkling of gaseous bodies proving beyond a lunar shadow of doubt that there is water—and life—on Mars. At this point, In Zaire has gone deeper than most ‘nauts, but planetary explorations continue and thrive when the surface of “Mercury” cracks open with a simple drum beat that acts as gyroscopic control as the rest of In Zaire coil tightly around it, generating a rumbling aura that expands the energy output further than you would think.

“There’s a bone-rattling looseness that is evident throughout the record, a frayed edge that gives In Zaire an added punch of ferocity above their already white-hot delivery.”

“Mercury” is a pretty straightforward cut that uses the understated power of buzz to full effect. The outermarker is pushed even more as they approach “Jupiter,” an amorphous rumble that implies size through intergalactic ballooning over crippling mass. This is a gas giant, deceptively open while contained in a cauldron of bouncing and rhythmic reaction. Don’t let planetary sequence fool you into thinking you’re back in tighter with “Venus.” Like a microcosm of galaxies (not just ours), throbbing bass and drums circle the star-wagons around an open core with the guitar providing transport between the ricocheting particles. The circular nature of In Zaire is used to full effect, while brief roiling flares highlight the latent power they have in more restrained passages as well as the added booster energy that’s under the hood even when the eye of the storm opens wide open to swallow everything in its path. By the end, “Venus” becomes a mass of electrified lava of one-mind. As it fades out, it’s clear this is only a window to the never-ending change and activity of another body teeming with life. No matter what the astronomers say. Deepest out is your next outpost, “Saturn”…out to the edge where what little has been mapped out ends.

“This is where the tether is fraying and you willingly reach for the scissors to make the final cut. By the end, you’re not only in deeper space, but you’re strapped in for a whole new launch sequence.”

The biggest mystery (and key to the allure) of In Zaire is that for all the interstellar hyperbole, this is firmly rooted on Mother Earth. With the rhythm, tribal fury and power of tectonic grind, White Sun Black Sun serves as a reminder that our Mothership here is part of an open-ended system that is a conflagration in constant motion, consuming, exhuming and expanding at a rate that loses scale in the great vacuum. Just as importantly, White Sun Black Sun is a blazing calling card that there’s a new Master of the Universe in town.

by Mr. Atavist