Zu is one of the most interesting bands to come out of Italy in a long long time. A baritone saxophone player, a bass player and a drummer who also does electronics and Mellotron, is the Rome-based personnel who fuel the fire that burns within Zu, with a flame so high that even even Mr. Bungle/Fantomas' Mike Patton and Melvins' King Buzzo have taken notice and lend their talents and abilities to "Carboniferous" (along with a bunch of other local collaborators). Zu has also previously collaborated with Damo Suzuki, Thurston Moore, Mats Gustafsson, Guy Picciotto, Jim O'Rourke, Eugene Chadbourne, No Means No, Karate and many more, so obviously they understand the importance of exposure and cross-pollination, which is something their music thrives on, is full of and is based on. "Carboniferous" (released on Patton's label Ipecac) is equal parts heavy metal, avantgarde jazz, industrial experimental music. The sheer fury and sonic assault of the rhythm section reminds of Neurosis, Zorn's Moonchild/Crucible, Melvins or even Sepultura at times but the addition of the deeply resonating bari really takes this to a place where no one has (or very few have) gone before. Obviously when the sax whales and screams incessantly it's hard not to think of Zorn's amazing playing, but then when it blends in as part of the overall mood or of the percussive patterns it almost sounds a little bit like Lou Reed's latest incarnation of the Metal Machine Trio. Needless to say the pieces where Patton lends his voice are incredibly powerful and anthemic (in the first of the two he screams Moonchild/Crucible style but in the closing piece of the CD he growls and regurgitates and even manages to sound like a cross between a didgeridoo and a tuvan throat singer).
Overall I love this record. It is different from what's out there, diverse within, powerful and aggressive but innovative and interesting at the same time. Highly recommended if you like extreme stuff that's out there and yet lets you do some head banging!