If the cover of this 3rd album from the italian band ZIPPO is pretty intriguing, the least we can say is that their musical style is also surprising and pretty hard to describe, being very rich and personal.
Often compared to MASTODON for a pronounced progressive edge, I wouldn't exactly range them in the same category, I would speak more about an audacious and very diverse musicality concerning the quintet from Pescara.
When first listening "Maktub", I was a bit surprised to see that this band will be included to the Desert Fest line-up, next April in London, among bands like Orchid, Lord Vicar, Church Of Misery, Alunah, Black Pyramid, etc... absolutely not for a question of quality, rather more by their style who, even if heavy and powerful, is very different from the other bands programmed. But diversity is the best ennemy of boredom and I'm sure that ZIPPO will be a real attraction there...
Like VOIVOD, MESSUGAH, TOOL or even PRIMUS were completely in advance on their time in the early 90's, ZIPPO reminds me slightly this "avant-gardiste" personality, blending different influences (from Metal/Stoner/Sludge/Heavy rock and grunge , all displayed with a modern touch) with a twisted and complex guitar approach; the kind of stuff that could seem a bit too shifted, being so singularly and tighlty composed, but which is in fact extremely solid and homogeneous when you get 100% into it.
Vocals by Dave are naturally not as surprising but fit very well with the various tempo changes and the general climate of "Maktub" which can be alternatively straight and intense, coldly melancholic and slightly mystical or on the contrary close to a certain psychedelic warmth. The presence of Ben Ward (Orange Goblin) on the "man of theory", one of the thickest songs of the album, is a nice little plus and (if necessary) adds even more credibility to the band, regarding its programmed development abroad; this is in my opinion the best song, just after the amazing "Simum" that you can listen here now :
All in all, we've got here a refreshing and very accomplished effort that perfectly deserves the attention from a large part of the HEAVY sounds Underground community, remember that and open your mind to ZIPPO !!!