CalatrilloZ is more than a band. They are musical entertainers. Members Zahyin (vocals), Mobius (bass), Azriel (guitars), Vargovar (guitar), and Jimmy Sticks (drums) have embraced theatrical personas, creating a “circus troupe of wanderers” complete with elaborate costumes, make-up, and detailed individual backstories. The eccentric quintet, formed in 2009 in London, United Kingdom, put together in their debut album Psalms of Zahyin, slated to be released in June, six progressive symphonic rock/metal tracks.
The album is in itself quite a production, often cinematic in the images it conveys. The melodies are catchy, the instrumentation often builds up to orchestral levels, and the lyrics sweep listeners into big choruses. The lead single, “I Am Alive”, is a good representation of what the group is all about, in which every frenzied note is carefully plugged in. Its lyrics walk the boundary between hope and despair: “I’m alive/Nobody knows what will be/But I will survive/C’mon, racing towards the end”.
The other tracks on the album are all reminiscent of this same style, with some unique twists here and there. The operatic vocals kicking off “Origins” are an attention grabber, as are the Latin-sounding guitar lines. Opera also defines the beginning of the dark and ominous “Lords of Misery”, albeit only melodically, with elements piled on throughout: drums (adding a rock element), violins (giving it a “grandiose” feeling), tripping guitar melodies and drum beats, and a thumping bass (setting the track in metal territory). The band’s most extravagant side comes out in the stormy and dark “A Glimpse at a Fool’s Destiny” which features music reminiscent of a dramatic opera. The high tempo of the catchy “Z, The Psychopath” reflects not just the theme of the song, but the talent behind each instrument capable of keeping up.
While each track on this album makes for an interesting listen and tells a story in itself, it is difficult to understand the overall story, as the record doesn’t seem to have a connecting thread that binds its tracks together. This unfortunately counters the flamboyance of Psalms of Zahyin and undermines the promise given by the detailed backstories of being welcomed into much more than a collection of six tracks. There is nothing new in this album which can come as a source of great comfort to listeners tired of experimentation and looking for something familiar. More information is available on their official website and on their Facebook page.