This duo from the US, deeply rooted in the occult underground and influenced by mountains and forests. The claim to be free from genre restrictions, which might raise the question if any band is really free from those. Yet, Zā Lä Thü managed to combine death metal with female fronted psychedelic rock, resulting in something intensely heavy and obscure. There's even much more going on.
Musically, opener 'The Enslaved Walk Free' and follower 'To Bind and Purge' are brutal death metal songs, or better, they would be if the clean vocals were replaced by death growls. The riffs are massive, the drums blasts and the whole is perfect for a decent headbanging session. Yet, the vocals give the whole something awe-inspiring. They turn the whole into witchcraft metal, and a pretty interesting combination.
But like I said, there's more. 'Exchanging Tongues with Morpheus' adds folklore elements and a gloomy atmosphere to the whole while follower 'Hail Hail Babalon' delves into the world of obscure darkwave. This song drives on keyboards and uptempo percussion, reminding me a bit of Zola Jesus actually. It's a completely different side of Zā Lä Thü but an interesting one nonetheless.
Personally, I really like this odd combination but I wonder who I can recommend it to. On the other hand, I don't think that's Zā Lä Thü's problem. They don't seem to care who likes their music or not, or at least, so does it feel. The majority of these songs seem to be deeply personal ritualistic incantations. They also don't seem to care what instruments are just. Is that a ukulele or a banjo in 'Val-Kree'?
Beyond all the strangeness, this still is a very strong album. I wonder if Zā Lä Thü ever performs live with material like this. I guess it's possible to do this as a duo and I'm quite sure 'The Opening of the Portal' will be a stunning piece on stage. This is one of my favorites, that's for sure. My advice, check it out and prepare to getting used to playing this a lot. Once Zā Lä Thü are in your head, they will never leave...