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Zu: Cortar Todo

Two decades in, these Italians are as perplexing as ever.

If you’re a progressively inclined act, you can only hope that listeners and critics aren’t going to try to simply fling your band into a carefully confined genre box.

Italians Zu have been noisily confounding their audience for almost 20 years. Cortar Todo is a bombastic, clamorous album that won’t endear them to an audience beyond those who are already onboard. The debate here centres on when something is artistic genius or simply pretentious drivel and even after countless listens, the music regularly veers through both of those conflicting realms. Opener The Unseen War neatly sets that scene, beginning with bird noises, a gripping Black Sabbath-style riff before dissolving into a pointless cacophony of drums, saxophone and something that sounds suspiciously like a food blender. At their finest, such as on Orbital Equilibria or Conflict Acceleration, their cleverly architected rock is at times inspired. The droning Vantablack Vomitorium is also pretty foreboding, but all too frequently – as on the title track – they drift into what sounds like pointless padding, often just to appear avant-garde. The inclusion of an Amazonian medicine man’s chants only adds to Zu’s ever-present quandary.