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Return To Zion - If This Is The End, It’s Beautiful

" Simply glorious and sometimes overwhelming, the closing track, If This Is The End, It’s Beautiful hits you hard and heavy, deep into the centre of your chest. Beginning in hope and prayer the track explodes into a rousing and uplifting array of tones and textures, where the music elevates itself to another sphere, before erupting into a tsunami of raw emotion and unbridled, majestic splendour. Every instrument bleeds and weeps its little heart out creating this moment of sheer elation and divine rhapsody "

Experimental. A word that is so open ended yet so specific when referencing the complex world of artists and musicians. Picture a scenario of sitting in front of a plain blank canvas, staring aimlessly at those empty pages that seems to unfold into infinity before your very eyes. Now, envisage a head and a heart both overloaded and burdened with great heartbreak and overwhelming joy. A mass of contradictions in their own right I know, but for some artists, all this emotional chaos and sentiment can transcribe into one great long-range forecast that in turn, becomes the catalyst for a perfect storm.

Joshua Cook of Return To Zion recently found himself consumed by such a predicament. The trauma of losing friends and family, while also nurturing new life into the world must have had a profound effect on his creative mindspace. However, the pendulum of emotions somehow opened a door to his mind, which allowed him to experiment and tinker with sights and sounds. Experiencing the emotions of both life and death in such a short space of time has moulded and forged Return To Zion’s latest EP If This Is The End, It’s Beautiful. It’s an experimental and heavily distorted collage of tones and textures interwoven through poignant salutations and bitter condemnations. Dan Cupps, Justin Nazario & Rachael Bodek along with Joshua have written a record that tramples through fields of doomgaze and experimental rock, all under the dimly lit post-rock moonlight

And We Fly Apart Like Leaves opens the EP with some deeply spoken diatribe that aches under the squalls of violins and cellos. Drums march in tandum with the strings as the momentum and emotion of the track buids into this beautiful and transcendent wall of sound. Guitars, violins, and bass guitars weave through a cacophony of greatness before gently closing under the bow of a solo violin.

Judas Goat brings with it noise and an organised commotion for close on three minutes, which in turn opens the door to the third track, Dreadnought // Vignette, which begins calm and near tribal with beaten percussions, simple guitar cords and a violin that weeps and laments. However, I simply cannot carry on with this review without paying homage to bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions In The Sky and A Silver Mt. Zion, whose trails blaze brightly throughout this EP. There’s no doubt those bands have shaped and influenced Return To Zion’s musical blueprint, and it’s something we should be very grateful for. But back to the track... the trance-like qualities of the music, along with the heartfelt melodies and heavily distorted riffs are a joy to hear. Even through tempo changes and breaks from electronica to acoustic, the power and the emotion rings loud and clear.

Simply glorious and sometimes overwhelming, the closing track, If This Is The End, It’s Beautiful hits you hard and heavy, deep into the centre of your chest. Beginning in hope and prayer the track explodes into a rousing and uplifting array of tones and textures, where the music elevates itself to another sphere, before erupting into a tsunami of raw emotion and unbridled, majestic splendour. Every instrument bleeds and weeps its little heart out creating this moment of sheer elation and divine rhapsody. It’s one of those passages of music you never want to end, but like everything in life, it must at some stage.

Return To Zion have created something memorable in If This Is The End, It’s Beautiful. This album has found a place in my head and my heart, and I’m pretty sure you’ll experience the same once you give it a listen. Bloody Brilliant!

https://returntozion.bandcamp.com/album/if-this-is-the-end-its-beautiful