Up until now, there were three things that came to mind when I thought of Ireland; St. Patty’s Day, Guinness and Primordial. It turns out there is now a fourth: ZOM. Now, if you go to their Facebook page, this Irish threesome claims to exist in the “Anti-Matter Universe.” Goofy sounding? It is. But my Aunt has a summer home there and she just loves it. Regardless of where they reside, ZOM are definitely intent on wreaking havoc in this Anti-Anti-Matter Universe of ours. Covered in blood and beer-soaked leather jackets, and adopting song structures reminiscent of old-school Sarcófago and Nifelheim, these fiends jack-up early ‘90s black/death with heavy doses of over-the-top Teitanblood heaviness and thrashtasic moments a la early Slayer. There may be a shitload of snow back East, but ditch the heavy coats in favor of some cowskin, update your patches and grab yourself a tall boy of gnarly malt liquor. Oh, and don’t forget your shovel.
“Tombs of the Void” kicks off Flesh Assimilation with some torturous screams and then brings that muddy shovel down on your face. This track pretty much sums up what to expect from Zom; nasty guitar tone, filthy Cronos-like bass guitar, concussive drumming that feels like a giant using your roof like a trampoline, and the echoing/reverberating growls and barks of Chthon and Sodomanic [Their parents must be so proud. – Steel Druhm]. These are all the ingredients you’ll ever need to throw your very own grave-desecrating picnic.
Throughout this tight 32-minute assault, ZOM teeters between hellish speed and mid-paced brutality; never committing to either for very long and keeping this wretched corpse as fresh as a wretched corpse can be. Songs like “Gates of Beyond,” “Conquest,” and “Dead Worlds” finds them sharing shoveling duties with Autopsy as they slow down a bit to prove just how fucking heavy they are. Chthon leads the mid-section of “Gates of Beyond” with some nifty bass licks interwoven with the thick-as-mud guitars of Sodomaniac. And “Conquest” is nothing short of heavy. The slow, chugging riffs and hammering drumming of Sabbac prove that speed is not always mandatory to prove a point (you can also find this in the intro of “Dead Worlds”). Conversely, “Hordes of the Cursed Realm” dabbles in some black ‘n’ roll and “Illbeings Unspeak” is a crushing take on the style resurrected by current Darkthrone.
But what really keeps me coming back again and again is the back-half of the album. What possessed them to stack “Dead Worlds,” “The Depths,” and the title track at the end of the album rather than leading with them is beyond me. However, these tunes are fucking killer. ZOM takes it up a notch and adds some old-school Slayer thrash with sprinkles of the black-thrash tempo found in Toxic Holocaust. Devastating and memorable, these riffs drop in just when you need them and ZOM uses them as fuel to burn this bitch into the ground. As the final thrashy riff of “Flesh Assimilation” fades away, I can’t help but want more.
While not ground breaking for the genre, Flesh Assimilation delivers some aggressive shit that never lets up. It’s modern heaviness with that crunchy, fuzzy, distorted fun of the good ole days. The production is exactly what you would expect from this style; it’s loud, distorted all to hell and the vocals are mixed way in the back. I have to say, after hearing their EP, Multiversal Holocaust, I took these guys to be something less than what they are now. Flesh Assimilation is a whole different beast than their EP/demos and that’s a good thing. So, if you want a devastatingly fun, shovel-ready good time, head out to the neighborhood cemetery with ZOM.