Back in 2013, ZILF was founded as a bedroom project by its then sole member, Joe. It served not only as an outlet for him to tinker with his burgeoning interest in guitar but as a means to broach and broaden his compositional capabilities previously limited by his drumming background. He aspired—and still does—to assemble ZILF into a full-fledged quintet so that the troupe could eventually tour and execute their madcap tunes in a live setting; however, locating members with an unwavering passion for eccentric, and at times, batshit musical ideas proved to be a trying task.
Then in 2014 there transpired a paradigm shift. Bret, ZILF’s soon to be second guitarist and vocalist, pieced together a vocal cover for an old ZILF track entitled “She’s Already Dead”. Immediately Joe took notice of Bret’s zeal for the project’s outlandish riff mosaics and after some digital correspondence, the two convened. Soon thereafter they would begin their riff forging process and within a matter of weeks, their debut EP, PrEPare YourZILF, would wrap recording and debut to the web in May of 2016.
Self-described as “pure pop-sludge anthems”, ZILF’s brand of extreme metal is a curious concoction of djent, mathcore, metalcore, deathcore, nu-metal, and a sundry of other disparate timbres. The “anthem” label, while partially in jest—especially its “pop-sludge” modifier—, is actually a rather fitting descriptor of ZILF’s bizarre style despite the persistent onslaught of extreme frequencies that permeate their songs. This is not to say every composition of theirs harbors a soaring melody paired with blissful crooning or a cudgel laden in bombastic hooks, but many feature catchy and singable choruses; their debut LP, The Album, is rife with these glistening passages. If you have yet to listen to their work, my summarization of their sound may read like a UFO cratering into Earth, but their unique approach to song production, as well as their often humorous vocal patterning, is worth experiencing at least once in your feeble lifespan.
In this podcast interview, I speak with Joe and Bret about the history of ZILF and the outfit’s progression to present day. They detail, in part, their riff writing approach, as well as their propensity to blend the aforementioned choruses with their extraterrestrial alloy of bewildering extreme metal. Additionally, we spend a good deal of time discussing the long production process of The Album, the eccentric vocal deliveries pocking its duration, various themes underlying its tracks, as well as the addition of their new member Pete, bass-slinger extraordinaire. Thank you so much for tuning in.
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You can snag a digital copy of The Album for free via ZILF’s Bandcamp page. The record is also streamable via Spotify and other streaming platforms. Be sure to follow the group on Facebook and Instagram for intermittent updates on new material; however, if you want to really stay in the know, join ZILF on their Discord server as that is where they’ll be updating fans and friends most regularly.
If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. There you can read all of our notes for each album review episode we publish, gain early access to every episode before its official release, and acquire an embroidered From Corners Unknown patch, button, and stickers if that’s your thing.
Coming up this Thursday is a podcast review of the latest Osi and The Jupiter EP titled Appalachia. Next Monday there will be an interview with the black metal-tinged breakbeat/electronic producer Insanity Check.