MAZIAC's 'Forged' opens like an incredibly heavy, take no shit version of "Pop Will Eat Itself" (bear with me, I'm going somewhere here!), with sociopolitical commentary infused throughout lead single "Symptomatic" I'm reminded of the combination of singing and rapping, as well as some of the social awareness on display on the Poppies "final" album (before a long hiatus and major line-up change at least) "Dos Dedos Mis Amigos" although the Poppies were never this brutal with their riffs, nor was their intensity this fierce. MAZIAC are definitely on the heavier side.
Throaty down-tuned rhythms with vocals that go from a manic bellowing roar to a clean singing voice there's a lot here to take in, and it's coming thick and fast, meaty guitar tones abound, with synths backing them up with an ethereal shimmer, opening track 'Symptomatic' doesn't so much lay down a manifesto as elbow drop it through the table, but MAZIAC don't rest on their laurels after such a fierce and tightly constructed opening salvo, it's better to think of "Symptomatic" as the start of a ride through the dense musical landscape constructed by the band as there's a lot more to come as the album goes on. One thing that really appealed to me as I listened through this album was the guitar tones throughout, there's a quality to them that just gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention.
A moment of quietude in the shape of the song "Prisoners" crops up at a seemingly ideal interval in proceedings giving us a chance to catch our breath (although this is still punctuated by hints at the punchy heaviness the band pull off so well throughout) and a study in what the band can do when they want to stretch their legs with a slight dialling back of the brutality. Instrumental "Vicissitudes" follows "Prisoners" and immediately breaks into "Again" acting as an instrumental to that song which begins to build up the intensity again as we enter the latter half of the album, the album closes on the two longest tracks, the first of these "Allure" takes us through some wonderfully concocted riff variations before settling back to provide space for the vocals. The band are not afraid to create atmospheric effects to reinforce their musical and lyrical dynamics, or to create dynamic breakdowns to showcase their ability to layer each musician's contribution and the way some of these interlock makes for some immensely satisfying listening.
"Resolution" the closing track on the album is an excellent study in dynamics, with frosty synths that hang in the air through the opening while the bass, guitar, and drums build up to the verse which kicks in after this short refrain, but still leaves a lot of headroom, even the first tagline doesn't push the limits hard, it's not until after the second tagline which is beautifully harmonised that the instruments begin to ratchet up the intensity audibly, only pushing slightly more during the verses, so as not to bury the vocals, but giving the instrumental sections a satisfying kick, the song continues to feel like it is filling the sonic space around the listener as we progress. While the album started with equal parts brutally shouted vocals and melodic sung vocals there is a marked decrease in the shouting during the bulk of 'Resolution', only really returning for moments before the band kick into a higher gear.
Certainly an album whose pacing and dynamics have been perfected. 'Forged' is one album I will doubtless revisit and the name MAZIAC is one I will be watching for in future too, an excellent collection of songs, well worth investigation.
Bandcamp - maziacband.bandcamp.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MaziacBand/
Review - Mike McLaughlin