Igloo Zoo – Light|Sound|Dimensions
Released: March 29th, 2019
Igloo Zoo Lineup
Shawn Mayer // Everything
Igloo Zoo online:
So, you’re over seeing new djent bands with geometrically themed names release their new single featuring a music video set in a field or abandoned warehouse? Good. That means you’re ready for Igloo Zoo’s debut album Light|Sound|Dimensions. Igloo Zoo is a solo project directed by the Sydney based musician, Shawn Mayer. The album was released recently on the 29th of March and has unfortunately not seen the traction it deserves. If you’ve taken any interest in the djent culture or progressive metal in general, go add some of these tunes to your playlist and see what we’re fussing about.
Short tracks that introduce albums, like the opening track ‘Ergot’, are always super powerful entrées for the vocals and general artist style. My first thoughts fell to the god-shatteringly impactful vocalists like Devin Townsend. The music also has a larger than life sound, again much like what Townsend’s music conveys. Although it would have been nice to feature the accompanying choral and synthesiser-orchestra sounds on more tracks, we have our lust for metal satisfied instead.
Similar to the way ‘Genesis’ goes into ‘Scarab’ from Northlane’s second album Singularity, ‘Ergot’ is followed with a much heavier ‘Chrysalis’. Mayer’s voice quickly goes from Devin Townsend to a more unclean focused technique. Dig deep enough into the world of metal and I’m sure you will find a voice that you could compare his too, but in general, it is by no means unoriginal. For this reason, his vocals stick out as the main highlight of the release.
‘The Sound of Light’ tails as the 3rd song and defines Igloo Zoo as a band definitely inspired by Northlane, both lyrically and musically. Whilst Mayer’s voice brings the song as a whole to the point of being epic, the resemblance is a little distracting. What’s important is the guy knows how to make a tune spark that ‘I could smash the world with my boot right now’ feeling.
Fast forward to what should have been released as a single, ‘Fractals’ tells us a bit more about how Igloo Zoo differs from other artists. First up, his voice shines bright in the chorus with that Sam Carter (Architects) style sing-scream-yell thing. It simply makes your hairs stand up on end. The song then hints at Mayer’s possible (very likely) understanding and experience of LSD. I think the album title’s acronym is no accident. Anyway, the song starts with a funny, stoned chipmunk voice claiming it ‘can’t see a fucking thing.’ Obviously not everyone is going to choose to take illicit hallucinogenic drugs, so it’s pretty cool to have someone describe it through music. The emotional detail that can be communicated goes well beyond what simple words can achieve. Personally, I would much rather have someone describe drugs to me through a metal track than through experimental psychedelic music. Igloo Zoo has a very well-crafted method of inserting smaller songs to break up a record and make it more palatable. ‘Oculus’ is only 1:47 but bares the peak of aggression this album contains, right before the following… composition (I’ll get to that). In ‘Oculus,’ the guitars are faster, the double kicks are more powerful and his uncleans grip the throat of kindness and squeeze like a python.
The next track ‘The Ganzfeld Effect’ may drop your heart rate a little, as it’s more of an auditory experience as opposed to a song. When it begins, a digitally altered voice explains that the song could affect those prone to seizures and is supposed to emulate a ‘trip.’ Whether you enjoy this sort of auditory experience is entirely up to the individual, but I thought a 6:44 track (generally centred around a slowly evolving drone and intermittent beeps and digital voices) had a strange place on this record. Maybe if it was released with a visual (and I was high) things would be different. You decide what you make of this track.
‘Claustrophobe’ took first place for the most engaging and inventive song. The guitar/melodies are both heavy and mischievous and as on all songs in Light|Sound|Dimensions, Mayer’s voice confidently dominates as the highlight. Again, it features a Sam Carter-esque vocal style which is perfect for this sort of music. This song feels where most of Igloo Zoo’s potential lies. Hopefully we see more groovy metal like this! ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Ions’ both continue the modern-metal aggression theme present in the album. I could go on about how impactful and unique the ending tracks are, but if you’ve got this far through the review, you’re going to want to listen to them yourselves. Get out there and show this incredible musician some support.
Igloo Zoo has just entered the world, so we could see a significant amount of change after the release of this album. It all depends on how it is received and how Shawn changes his taste. Although we have no control over the latter, we can sure as hell support the phenomenally crafted bangers released in Light|Sound|Dimensions. From teasers posted on social media, it looks as if Igloo Zoo could be touring parts of Australia soon, so get familiar with it. I’m giving the final rating a 7 out of 10 largely due to the superb, gripping vocals. The music was powerful and captivating, but not quite niche and intuitive enough to be altering the mainstream direction of any genres. Please, give us more Igloo Zoo!
Igloo Zoo – Light|Sound|Dimensions tracklisting:
- The Sound of Light
- The Ganzfeld Effect