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ZOND’s debut album is a milestone in the rise of one of Australia’s most exhilarating, singular and deafening bands, writes RENÉ SCHAEFER.

An eerie calm ushers in ZOND’s debut album. Like wandering through an abandoned town at the foot of a volcano that is about to erupt, the feeling is one of anxious anticipation before the inevitable razing of the constructed world. When the first tremors hit, and showers of black ash block out the sun, it’s as spectacularly beautiful as it is threatening. And then all hell breaks loose.

Over recent years, ZOND have consistently mesmerised Melbourne audiences in small venues, laying waste to stages with their tinnitus-inducing barrage. Not a noise band, and not really a rock band either, they have few peers and don’t belong to any particular scene. What they do is neither free-form improvisation, nor clearly defined songwriting. Even to describe what ZOND sound like is almost impossible.

First there is a thick blanket of guitars played by Marney Macleod and Justin Fuller. The two create a fearsomely intense, yet also carefully controlled chaos over the majestic and rock-solid bass lines of Stephen Thomas and the batshit-crazy punk rock drumming of Tym Krasevac. Distortion reigns supreme as Macleod and Fuller push each other to new levels of intensity. Disembodied vocals fade in and out of the swirling mass; sometimes angry, sometimes ethereal, sometimes just ghostly echoes.

ZOND find beauty in chaos. Everything is on the verge of collapsing in upon itself. Whereas shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride once evoked expansive horizons and the dissolution of ego in a psychedelic haze, ZOND conjure an atmosphere of claustrophobia, unease and isolation in the listener, with a single-mindedness of vision that borders on autism.

“What they do is neither free-form improvisation, nor clearly defined songwriting. Even to describe what ZOND sound like is almost impossible.”

ZOND explore an inner-space that can be scary at times. Like Samuel Beckett’s narrator in The Unnamable, we are plunged into an undefined grey void in which nothing exist other than our own self-awareness; where the objective world loses meaning and life has to be reconstructed from scratch. Even the album cover speaks of this, with its silver-grey abstraction and solarised band shots portraying the musicians as self-absorbed and distant.

Sometimes ZOND’s music builds up such velocity that it almost appears to vanish. Cultural theorist Paul Virilio has termed this kind of effect “picnolepsy”: a condition of brief lapses of time and momentary absences of consciousness produced by the experience of speed.

ZOND’s ambition in putting together this album is clearly evident. After all, it’s the culmination of a lengthy process of collaboration between musicians whose history stretches back to previous bands such as On, Library Punks and Fong. Having always been a highly volatile unit, the ZOND sound eventually coalesced with the addition of Thomas on bass as a stabilising element. His anchoring role is pivotal to the songs on this album.

Recorded by Jack Farley and mastered by Casey Rice, the album not so much tries to replicate the head-pounding impact of a live set, but instead exposes the subtleties and intricate layers of sound within the boiling cauldron of noise. No one element ever dominates the mix to the detriment of others. ZOND is more than the sum of its parts – an entity beyond the contribution of individual musicians.

Thomas’ recent departure from the band has seen a shift into yet another phase, with new members Matthew Brown (keyboards) and Harriet Morgan (bass) already contributing significantly to ZOND’s further evolution. Consequently, this album is a document of a particular era in the history of a remarkable group. Coinciding with their performance during the Vivid Live festival at Sydney Opera House – at the invitation of Lou Reed, no less – the album’s release is a milestone in ZOND’s continuing rise as one of Australia’s most exhilarating and singular bands.


ZOND's self-titled debut is out now through R.I.P Society Records.

  -   Published on Wednesday, June 2 2010 by René Schaefer.
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Your Comments

alpsofmessandnoise  said about 5 years ago:

lol @ beckett reference <3 u rene

Ron  said about 5 years ago:

lol @ beckett reference

Yeah! Zond will always be more 'Happy Days' than 'The Unnamable' to me.

Fuck I cannot wait to hear this.

alpsofmessandnoise  said about 5 years ago:

lou reed monday night opera house = murphy

FrankieTeardrop  said about 5 years ago:

Beckett brings the LOLs. Murphy is a laugh riot!

__v  said about 5 years ago:

i was getting more a davros vibe off him

anonymous  said about 5 years ago:


I am Morris  said about 5 years ago:


bxckxtrxdxr  said about 5 years ago:

great review rene

kazpatafta  said about 5 years ago:

I do not know how I'm going to wait 2 months for the vinyl

anonymous  said about 5 years ago:

buy it now, buy it again!


sevenatenine  said about 5 years ago:

its a killer.
best band in australia hands down!!!

parsleypenelope  said about 5 years ago:

zond are the best and the album is awesome.

slazza  said about 5 years ago:

Just picked this up this morning. Very good so far.

anonymous  said about 5 years ago:


black wasp!  said about 5 years ago:

'RIP012' - What label is this on?

Hellzapoppin  said about 5 years ago:

R.I.P Society.

fzchk  said about 5 years ago:

Bought this on my lunch break, looking forward to getting home even more today!

Hellzapoppin  said about 5 years ago:

I'm looking forward to hearing someone elses copy whilst I await the lp.

fzchk  said about 5 years ago:

I'll bring it over when I get around to picking up my copy of the Dead Boomers CD.

Hellzapoppin  said about 5 years ago:


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Ron  said about 4 years ago:

I'm not sure whether she's still playing keyboards. I knew I should have kept out of this.

Hellzapoppin  said about 4 years ago:

Poor Ron.

memphis  said about 4 years ago:

but john does like cheese?

Ron  said about 4 years ago:

He really does. I've seen him order a quattro formaggio pizza and ask for extra cheese.

MelonHCST  said about 4 years ago:

Is that the short girl who always looked upset?

memphis  said about 4 years ago:

no, john's not a girl, short or tall, though he may look upset after all that cheese

labrish  said about 4 years ago:

Facey sez:

Tym Krasevac -DRM,SK8,VX...
Marney MacLeod -GTR,FX,VX...
Justin K Fuller -GTR,FX,SK1,VX...
John Douglas -BSS,FX,VX...
Matthew Brown -KORG,FX,VX...

MelonHCST  said about 4 years ago:

The one who was replaced.
I was correct.

nic.rulz  said about 4 years ago:

I've got about 25 of the Zond LP on hand in Australia, then that'll be it I reckon. Email or check the regular outlets.

cooper.  said about 4 years ago:

I've heard it sounds muffled on wax compared to the cd, so I've chilled on buying it. Is the US version any different? Can anyone confirm or deny that it sounds muffled to begin with?

hardtop  said about 4 years ago:

Definitely sounds awesome on vinyl, definitely not muffled...

madamdowager  said about 4 years ago:

sounds awesome on my live recordings too.

I will miss seeing Hazza on stage she is rockin...though I'm sure she won't miss the tinnitus

VOIVODD  said about 4 years ago:

THANX, madamdowager

short girl who always looks upset is so funny ha ha ha

VOIVODD  said about 4 years ago:

that's so me

Hellzapoppin  said about 4 years ago:

You will be missed VOIVODD :[

ghoti-max  said about 2 years ago:

Just remembered how much I loved blasting this album, revisiting now. Zond are still kicking right? I think I've seen them in line-ups in Melbourne, but they haven't been up to Sydney for a while..?

anonymous  said about 2 years ago:

Played at the tote last saturday.

MelonHCST  said about 2 years ago:

Supported Royal Headache. New stuff sounds a lot different

hardtop  said about 1 year ago:

ZOND playing 9:30 pm, tonight at the old bar with Deaf Wish and Little Desert.

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