Friday 16 December 2022

ZOAHR ~ APRAXIA .... review

Germany's ZOAHR, Thorsten (bass); Philipp (drums) and Jessie (guitar/vocals) may already be familiar to some due to their 2019 album "Off Axis", an album which earned glowing praise from all the right quarters of the underground press on its release. The album's blend of heavy blues and psychedelic rock, liberally sprinkled with elements of stoner and alt-rock, seemed to hit a chord with its listeners so it was expected that a follow up would not be long in the coming. Sadly it has taken three years for that follow up to land but good things come to those who are prepared to wait and our patience has at last been rewarded with the release of "Apraxia".

A lone gently strummed chord progression introduces first track "Imperious Hand" then is joined by the bass and drums in a rocking quasi-progressive groove that for all its bite and drive possesses a pleasing underlying funkiness. Vocals on this track, and for that matter all the albums songs, are delivered clean, melodic and have a clarity more in keeping with classic rock and the blues than they do the stoner rock and metal that the bands music has tended to be lumped in with. That last sentence is an important one as it is not just ZOAHR's vocals that have a leaning towards a more classic rock sound it is also their music. Songs like "Avarice", title track "Apraxia" "Portal" and "Threatmill" have a much more airy, clean, and dare we say, polished feel to them than much of what we usually hear emanating from the heavy underground rock scene, the band incorporating elements of everything from late sixties blues rock to present day heavy psych to create a sound that would be as acceptable on Jonny Pirie's Hour of The Riff podcast as it would be on some classic rock radio station. Even when they do decide to put their foot down hard on the accelerator. like on "Dreamstate" and "Avers & Reverse", it is done with an air of  efficiency only a German band could pull off, the trio never letting things get too raucous or overly aggressive and becoming just another noisy riff fest, the band allowing the melodies to come through and the grooves space to breathe, keeping things heavy, bluesy and alternative but at the same time classy.

ZOAHR tell us that "Apraxia" is not a concept album but more a collection of observational pieces decorated with lyrics that question our place in the great scheme of things, or as the band put it "a reflection of todays current state of the world, social discontents and depression". Whether this works in the way the band intend it to is debatable but then the real strength of "Apraxia" is the music behind its superbly delivered lyrics, which is at all times unquestionably sublime.
Check it out .....

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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