Zoar - "Cassandra"
By Rat Bastard
Zoar's music is often advertised as "Music for the
movies in your head." This is a fairly accurate assessment. After all, the
music on "Cassandra" would make an excellent soundtrack for a non-existent (or,
for that matter, an existent) movie. However, it would be rather unfair and
simple-minded to simply pigeonhole "Cassandra" as an album of movie
soundtrackesque instrumental music. The music stands on its own, with or
without visuals. Of course, it is quite likely that listening to "Cassandra"
will evoke visual impressions regardless, and even if you aren't really
listening it still makes great background music for the various activities of
The album opens with the title track, which is separated
into three movements (each movement occupying a separate track): a dramatic
introduction, a slow and melancholy piano-based piece and a more upbeat and
dynamic piece which drives onward to the conclusion of the song with neo-tribal
beats, distorted guitars, and powerful synth melodies. However, this is the
only song divided up like so; the remaining seven songs get to occupy one track
Zoar, while having an obvious leaning towards the dark,
mysterious, and epic, still manage to provide a large dose of variety in one
album, incorporating both modern (guitars, drum programming, synths, assorted
noises), as well as more traditional (strings, pianos) sources of
instrumentation into the mix. Each song stands alone, threaded together only by
the common characteristics of skillful composition and dramatic flare.
"The Passing of a Plague" is
the one song on the album with any sort of lyrical content, which is actually
taken from Henry Miller's "Sexus" and spoken ominously over the music, which
sets the perfect tone and mood. And speaking of tone and mood, "An Early
Disobedience" is just downright creepy, being less an actual "song" and more a
soundscape. Just try sitting alone in your room at night (lights out, of
course) with this track playing, and you'll see (or hear, rather) what I mean.
"Ligeia" is also similar in vein, but shorter and not nearly as effective as
far as I'm concerned.
In short, Zoar's "Cassandra" is a worthy addition to the
music collection of any who appreciate modern instrumental music with a dark
and mysterious edge. Of course, there are those who simply *must* have lyrics
in their songs in order to derive any pleasure from them. Even if you think you
might be one of these poor souls, I would still suggest, at the very least,
that you give Zoar a listen. Who knows...it might even cause you to dust off
that imagination and put it to some use. After all, just about everyone likes
to dream. Zoar just makes it more convenient by providing a soundtrack. Of
course, some of the musical content of "Cassandra" might be better suited for
nightmares. Then again, as some of us are no doubt well aware, nightmares can
sometimes be fun.
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