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ZWOYLD

Zeuhl • France


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Zwoyld biography
Founded in Clermont-Ferrand, France in 2013

Zwoyld is a band founded by Gilbert Brown. They are strongly influenced by Magma but even though the tracks are in Kobaian, their Zeuhl is a bit more accessible. The debut album has been recorded in 2013 and released in 2014 only in digital form.

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ZWOYLD discography


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ZWOYLD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.80 | 13 ratings
200 000
2014
4.08 | 5 ratings
Zgond
2018

ZWOYLD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ZWOYLD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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ZWOYLD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Zgond by ZWOYLD album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.08 | 5 ratings

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Zgond
Zwoyld Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The oddball progressive rock band ZWOYLD from the Clare-Ferrand region of France quietly released their debut "200 000" back in 2014 which kind of went unnoticed but eventually attracted me simply by its bizarre band name, which i have no idea what it means if anything. Four years later they release their sophomore album titled ZGOND, a title which i also have no idea what it may signify if anything. As ZWOYLD's music is heavily steeped in Magma inspired zeuhl rhythms, i would assume that they have also created their own fictitious vocabulary regarding some breakaway society that exists on planet utopia. Since the cool and surreal album cover has two pyramids, i'll just pretend that what it means!

ZWOYLD is unusual in that its leader is not one of the musicians. Gilbert Brown created the band and is only the director of the project. The debut album consisted of five musicians and on this one that number has increased to six with a seventh adding the saxophone on "Jolitude." ZGOND contains five tracks all ranging from eight to ten minutes in length and continues the unique mix of zeuhl rhythms, psychedelic keyboard workouts and heavy rock guitar antics all strewn together in a semi-angular avant-prog sort of delivery. Overall ZGOND is a bit more straight forward than "200 000" with an incessant bass groove, guitar parts fluttering around it and drum and key interplay following suit but that's a mere generalization.

ZGOND carries on my like its predecessor with slow chilled sounds ratcheting up their intensity slowly until the music graduates into a full psychedelic rock frenzy with retro sounding keyboard parts and heavy guitar stealing the show. While "200 000" blew me away with its unbridled intensity and creative edge over many other modern takes on retro prog, ZGOND seems to have tamed the most progressive outbursts down a few notches in order to create a slightly more accessible sound, or maybe i'm just accustomed to ZWOYLD's sound enough for it to have lost its initial impact. Either way, ZGOND dishes out a veritable smorgasbord of retro prog in the form of psychedelic zeuhl laced with hard rock, funk and avant-prog.

One of the aspects i loved about the debut was the inclusion of various instruments including the flute, sanza and bottleneck which all seem to be missing. While mostly instrumental ZGOND has a few vocal surprises such as the whimsical organ heavy "Jolitude" which finds the band in a playful mood however it does evolve into an ominously sounding attack of guitar riffs, John Zorn-esque sax attacks and chaotic noisy outbursts of noise. The ending sounds a lot like some of the newer avant-prog bands such as PoiL with schizoid Zappa-esque vocal styles. "Riravaler" is the most frenetic track with over nine minutes of stylistic shifts drenched in classic prog organs and keyboards along with nice guitar bombast including some stellar surf guitar at the end. "Tutti Quanti" ends with another excellent prog workout with double guitars and detours into weird psychedelic freakiness.

While ZGOND doesn't blow me away like the debut, it is still an excellent slice of zeuhl driven progressive rock that incorporates King Crimson inspired guitar outbursts, ample doses of bizarre time signature deviations, stylistic and dynamic shifts and exquisitely tight musicianship as they meander through the various passages. While the bass does point to a Jannick Top styled bass groove (but not always), the music is much too playful to categorize as a mere Magma clone since the avant-prog and jazz-rock elements completely change the overall feel of the album and takes it in completely new directions. Perhaps not quite as adventurous as the debut but still quite satisfying and highly recommended to all the hardcore prog lovers who love a little slice of the underground.

 200 000 by ZWOYLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.80 | 13 ratings

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200 000
Zwoyld Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What an incredible album this is! I'm always intrigued when a new Zuehl band comes upon the scene, curious at how they are going to interpret what MAGMA started so many years ago. And I must say this is different. Not 100% Zeuhl by any means as we get Jazz, Avant and almost Metal at times with that guitar. Yes there are plenty of Zeuhl references mostly with the vocals but also instrumentally as well. This is a five piece band from France overseen by Gilbert Brown and they are players to say the least. I'm so impressed at what they have created here. Lots of Fender Rhodes and upfront bass in the Zeuhl tradition but surprisingly we get some mellotron, jews harp, synths, flute and organ. At just under 64 minutes they get plenty of time to stretch out with these six longish tracks.

"Sys" is the ten minute opener and it's unusual to hear a Spanish vibe on a Zeuhl album but we get that in the intro with the percussion, clapping and guitar. This sounds so good when it settles down after a minute with melodic guitar, drums and bass standing out. Some nice raw sounding guitar after 2 minutes. Love how relaxed this is then a change as it turns more serious with marching styled drums and more after 3 minutes. Synths and a heavy sound just before 5 minutes. Man the calm that arrives a minute later is so dreamy and beautiful. It kicks back in again before 7 minutes with angular guitar and a heavy sound. Some insane Zeuhlish vocal melodies before 8 minutes as they chant. A great way to end this great opening song.

"Aink" is such a great sounding instrumental and the shortest tune on here at just under 7 minutes. Love the depth of sound here. Lots of heaviness as the rhythm section really impresses with the guitar playing over top. It's heavier before 4 minutes then we get some fast paced guitar before 5 minutes playing over top. More aggressive guitar before 6 1/2 minutes.

"Chaa" might be my favourite track on here. Raw sounding guitar as we hear a scream followed by vocal expressions and heaviness. It speeds up including the crazy vocals bringing Japanese Zeuhl to mind. A strong MAGMA vibe then kicks in with deep vocals reminding me of Blasquiz. Suddenly a change as we get complex guitar lines ala KING CRIMSON. More insane vocals then it slows right down at 4 minutes before turning chaotic. It's heavy after 5 minutes with almost Metal-like riffs as vocal expressions cry out in the background. This is getting intense. A calm takes over after 8 minutes as the organ comes to the fore. Lots of atmosphere too. I like this! Angular guitar before 10 1/2 minutes then it's heavy again after 11 minutes. Check this out! The tempo picks up after 11 minutes and it's not as heavy either.

"Melku" opens with flute and atmosphere as what sounds like vibes kick in. So much going on as the tempo picks up. It changes as the guitar arrives with a different melody in tow. Catchy stuff with pulsating sounds and more. It turns heavier before 4 1/2 minutes then it settles back after 5 minutes. Strummed guitar 7 minutes in with lots of depth too. Great sound here.

"Trwa" has multi- vocals only to start then it turns dark with a heavy atmosphere. Spoken words arrive sounding sheep-like to be honest. Experimental is the word here, very avant until we seem to get a slow melody developing before 4 minutes. A calm with pulsating sounds as the drums join in after 5 minutes. A powerful sound with Blasquiz- like vocals follow then the tempo picks up. So good! Ripping guitar comes and goes. It settles back after 8 minutes. Man this sounds amazing too. Love the angular guitar before 9 1/2 minutes. A calm with acoustic guitar before 11 minutes then it builds as the vocals join in. They go completely insane late to end it.

"Pson" opens with experimental sounds and it's dark. A rhythm kicks in and builds but it's still dark. Deep bass kicks in after 3 minutes. A calm with flute 4 1/2 minutes in and then it kicks in again but it's not dark now, just complex and rhythmic. Guitar comes in over top before 5 1/2 minutes followed by angular guitar. Mellotron before 7 1/2 minutes.

I was planning on 4.5 stars and clicking on the four stars but after that final listen before the review, then reading Silly Puppy's review... well I felt that this is a five star album after all.

 200 000 by ZWOYLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.80 | 13 ratings

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200 000
Zwoyld Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars ZWOYLD is yet another strange zeuhl band that springs from France and contains all the usual Magma influences but branches out in many ways to include not only the expected jazz-rock side of things (however no brass on board) but also has a very spacey Rock In Opposition approach along with a healthy dose of avant-garde. The band was formed by Gilbert Brown who oversees the project but doesn't actually play any of the instruments. The actual band consists of five members who contribute the following instruments: drums, bass, guitar, mellotron, synthesizers, flute, sanza and jew's harp. As with much zeuhl this one is pretty much instrumental with the only vocals being delivered in chants which basically add another instrument without any linguistic connotations that i can understand anyways. The track titles seem to be in some invented language and the presentation brings to mind some ancient builder race of sort that visited and left the planet long ago.

The music clearly falls into the zeuhl camp with its pummeling hypnotic bass grooves and rhythmic developments but there is so much more going on here that separates the music from any Magma clone accusations for sure. Firstly there is a lot of attention paid to guitar here. There are not only rhythmic power chord sequences but lots of angular guitar riffs that bring an RIO / Avant Prog vibe to the forefront on many occasions. However it never really gets too weird. It flirts with the bizarre but always keeps the chunky bass lines accessible and the guitars even delve at times into funk territory. The tracks all have distinct personalities and the album flows very nicely with totally different arrangements taking place over the avant-prog meets zeuhl rhythms. There are also various world music influences such as Arabic, Indian and Klezmer.

Tracks like "Chaš" really branch out into strange territories as the composition is quite complex with structured time sig changes that take a rather catchy melody and adds all kinds of freaky progressive touches. The track has the unique quality of making me feel like a zeuhl rhythm has been accompanied by a 60s psychedelic rock type of band. It's the kind of stuff that i always thought SHOULD have happened in the 60s but never really did. This music somehow captures an "i wish that woulda happened" vibe for me. It really works well too. Nothing feels forced in the least bit and progressive touches such as bizarre time sig freak outs structured around the choppy zeuhl rhythms somehow just kind of flow without the slightest of spoiling features. While mostly energetic "Chaš" slows down half way through and creates a very psychedelic rock experience but picks up steam again. The album is mostly energetic but slow passages punctuate the frenetic energy as to create an always welcome diversity in mood.

This one is a welcome surprise. The music is as surreal as the album cover artwork but still entirely accessible upon first listen. In effect, the perfect balance between the known and unknown where alienation isn't even remotely possible but surprising combinations of sounds add a layer of excitement. What i'm finding is that the band really know how to capture that innovative zeitgeist of the early 70s yet not ripping any other artist off. Yes, the influences are tucked beneath the surface and all but is more than obfuscated by layers of creativity oozing out of every irregular jagged bass led sequence. Ever since Magma introduced the zeuhl style of music to the world decades ago, it has remained a viable sub genre that allows all types of complexities to be kept from going too far astray with the accessible rhythms at play. ZWOYLD continues with that tradition but manages to take the jazz- fusion and avant-prog levels a few notches higher with tons of psychedelic trippiness to put hardcore Grateful Dead fans into a coma! This is an instantly addictive album that has managed to blow me away! Great job, guys :)

Thanks to octopus-4 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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