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Freedom Bondage

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Album Review

Like one of Akira Kurosawa's acclaimed Samurai epics cross-pollinated with the type of bludgeoning metal championed by Slayer, Freedom Bondage charges stoically, stolidly, furiously, but in firm control, bolstered by the tremendous engineering work of Steve Albini. Guitarist KK Null — known also for his experimental, sometimes ambient, sometimes painful-beyond-listenability soundscapes — plays with a decided flair for both overdriven death metal and more painful, art rock-inspired single note runs, quite similar to Today Is the Day's Steve Austin. However, Null's most impressive and overwhelming trait is his vocals: He sings the way Toshiro Mifune screams and grunts in Kurosawa's films. It's quite daunting and powerful to listen to. In fact, Freedom Bondage is Zeni Geva's most potent and consistent work, a surgically precise blend of Japanese avant-noisescapes, death metal, art rock, and industrial sensibilities, all harnessed brilliantly, with tremendous attention — as usual — to drum tone and breadth, by Albini.


Formed: 1987 in Japan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of Japan's more eccentric and intriguing extreme music exports of the late '80s and '90s, self-professed "progressive hardcore trio" Zeni Geva (their name derives from an ancient Japanese word for "money" and a corruption of the German "gewalt," or violence) forcibly fused elements of heavy metal, hardcore, industrial music, noise rock, and the avant-garde, gaining no small underground recognition in the process. Having already made a name for himself via several experimental outfits (Absolut...
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Freedom Bondage, Zeni Geva
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