Thursday, July 31, 2014

Square Zeros #24: BEZOAR (Isle Of Citadel, Ruksac, Wizardry)

If you wanted to describe Bezoar, you could throw out a bunch of terms like heavy and doomy and psychedelic and stoner and experimental. And you could point out some similarities to Electric Wizard or Dead Meadow or Swans. But that would really do a disservice to Bezoar, whose raison d’ĂȘtre is to defy those types of labels and comparisons. Yes, they have a lot of those qualities, but they’re more mutable than any of that suggests.

Bezoar’s most recent LP, Wyt Deth, is a strange, cerebral odyssey that showcases the members' proclivity for complex, boundaryless songcraft. Perhaps inadvertently, they seem to spell out that approach in the eerie acoustic opener, "Burn Everything":  "I'm not waiting for chaaaaaange, burn everything, burn everything," bassist and singer Sara Villard moans. From there, Bezoar spirals out in all directions dark and menacing — from the galloping "Vitamin B" to the manic "Clocktower" to the epic closer "Knight" — with pummeling guitar emanations from Tyler Villard and Justin Sherrell pounding the drums.

"Life On A Cross" opens the episode, and the band was kind enough to share an exclusive demo of one of the new cuts, "Dark Trippin." 

Sara spent some time in a phenomenal noise band called Isle Of Citadel that was based out of Boston in the early 2000s. The group was about as label-resistant as Bezoar — the music was somewhat mathy and rhythm forward, with soaring vocals from Sara and thick guitars. The track she brought in she recorded when she was about 20 years old. We feature the middle six minutes or so in the podcast, but here’s the full thing.

Around the same time in the same city, Tyler was playing in a hardcore band called Ruksac. He and his bandmates were scraping by in South Boston, fighting raccoon infestations in their apartment, renting dirt cheap slots in rehearsal spaces, and making music with all the grit that you’d expect from that lifestyle. “Smelly Piggies” is a sick track with a sound that falls somewhere between Choking Victim and the more raw end of the Epifat skatepunk spectrum. Tyler’s guitar playing kinda fucking rips for the style.

Justin brought in an un-fuck-withable song called “Drink From Thy Chalice” from his power metal outfit Wizardry. It was part of a full-length the band recorded over a few cases of (the ill-fated) Budweiser American Ale in the back of Union Pool about six years ago. When you’re singing that chorus to yourself later on —“DRINK! FROM THY CHALICE!” — just imagine how rad it would be to pound Bud Heavies out of the giant golden goblet from the cover art.

Catch Bezoar Monday August 11 at the Knitting Factory, with North, My America, and Thera Roya. And keep an ear to the ground for new material this fall.


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