Monday 26 October 2015

Shooting Guns/ZAUM - Himalaya To Mesopotamia (Album Review)

Release date: November 6th 2015. Label: Sunmask Records/Pre-Rock Records/Superbob Records. Format: Cassette/DD/Vinyl

Himalaya To Mesopotamia – Tracklisting

1.Shooting Guns - Super Himalaya
2.Shooting Guns - Dirty Needle
3.Shooting Guns - Ultimate Nullifier
4. ZAUM - The Serpentshrine

Shooting Guns Band Members:

Jay Loos
Jim Ginther
Toby Bond
Zach Low
Brennan Barclay

Zaum Band Members:

Kyle Alexander McDonald : Vocals, Bass, Sitar, Synth
Christopher Lewis : Drums


Two of Canada’s finest upcoming Doom Metal bands Zaum and Shooting Guns have teamed up for a split record – Himalaya to Mesopotamia. Four songs lasting 39 minutes with ZAUM offering one epic 19 minute song and Shooting Guns offering 3 songs lasting around 6 to 7 minutes each.

If you’re not familiar with either band then this is the best place to start. Zaum’s music is described as Eastern based Doom/Stoner Metal. Imagine OM and Sleep given a Middle Eastern twist as the sounds are shrouded in heavy drone based Eastern Mysticisms. Shooting Guns on the other hand are an Instrumental Doom Metal band with shades of Ambient Noise, Post-Rock and Stoner Metal. They’ve already released a split record earlier this year with Hawkeyes. So I was curious to hear what they’ve conjured up for this split record.

First up is Shooting Guns and I’m excited to hear what they have in store with us as they have quite a different sound compared to Zaum. One more of Instrumental Psych/Doom/Stoner Metal compared to the Eastern based sounds of Zaum. The first song is Super Himalaya. A Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal ride with Shooting Guns opting for a more stripped back feel compared to their earlier releases. It’s very lo-fi at times but it still sounds superb from start to finish. The riffs are played at a fast pace with distorted ambient noises being the main driving force on the track.

Dirty Needle is the next song to follow and it’s another spaced out trippy doom and gloom based musical odyssey with the band creating some heavy out there moments. Shooting Guns even manage to follow Zaum’s lead and inject some Eastern based vibes. This is perhaps the best song from Shooting Guns on the album as it features the bands trademark riffs but given a Zaum makeover. Long drawn out psych doomy riffs await to take you to another world or dimension.

The final track from Shooting Guns is – Ultimate Nullifier – which is classic Shooting Guns from start to finish. This is a song that could have came from their critically acclaimed album – Brotherhood Of The Ram. It’s a fast-paced Doom/Stoner Metal song packed with intricate psych vibes and spaced out noises to show you why these guys are so highly thought of. In my opinion, Shooting Guns are perhaps one of the finest Instrumental Doom/Stoner Metal bands currently out there. They’ve released 3 great records in the last 12 months.

Finally we have Zaum’s contribution – The Serpentshrine. If you’re a fan of Zaum’s debut album – Oracles – you’ll find much to admire here as Zaum continue with the Eastern epic based drone sounds merged with slow-paced Doom/Ambient/Stoner Metal sounds. The vocals and chants drift in and out to add a world eerie atmosphere that also brings a sense of mystery. It does take time for Zaum to unleash the heavy thunderous riffs. Though it’s worth the wait as you know a violent storm is coming towards you.

The vocals move up a gear when the heavy riffs appear as the song becomes more exciting as a result. Zaum crank up the tension as the guitars merge with a murkier psychedelic sound. The drumming becomes more powerful as a result. Psychedelic Noises and Eastern Mantra sounds collide for one of the most spaced out trips of the year. Take a journey with ZAUM as The Serpentshirne features some of ZAUM’s most creative work to date.

I hope a new album from both bands isn’t too far away. Until then, Zaum and Shooting Guns have created a stunning record here. Himalaya to Mesopotamia is a must-have record for all you spaced out astronauts to admire and fully experience.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Zaum, Shooting Guns and Sunmask Records for the promo. Himalaya to Mesopotamia will be available to buy on Cassette/DD/Vinyl via SunmaskRecords/Pre-Rock Records/Superbob Records from November 6th 2015.

Shooting Guns Links:

Zaum Links: