Local Review: Zyglrox – Stoic
Local Music Reviews
Zyglrox = Magic Sword + Sunn O)))
The best thing about Stoic is how Zyglrox ties together tight, diverse instrumentation with a rich collection of philosophical samples to create a project with an incredibly clear viewpoint and sense of mood. I was expertly guided through all the highs and lows of realizing that while the human condition is having the Moirai kick you in the teeth over and over, being able to make peace with that is the key to living a fulfilling life.
The album’s narrative starts with the track “Nothing Lasts (The Eternal City).” The song is crystal clear in its outlook on the world—the brooding, distorted guitars and vocal samples work in perfect harmony to instill in me an overwhelming feeling of existential dread, the sense that the clock of life will turn ever forward and the waves of time will eventually reduce everything I could ever experience to meaningless noise and random patterns of heat energy.
“Stoic” is another dark, heavy track full of great guitar work and is just as unsubtle as its predecessor in how it presents its statement of purpose: “The outside world may be out of your control, but what always remains within your control is how you choose to respond.”
While the album can at times feel a bit preachy and heavy-handed with its messaging, the instrumentation and melodic aspects are genuinely impressive. All the riffs are catchy as hell, and frequently ended up stuck in my head while writing this review. I have a very distinct feeling that, with a full band, Stoic would be incredible in a live setting.
“Amor Fati’’ is where the album’s tone takes a marked shift toward positivity. Almost reminiscent of power metal, the soothing, elysian piano and pizzicato strings section build into a shreddy climax as the narrative starts to take joy in the hardships and suffering it spent so much time previously lamenting.
Despite all of Stoic’s compelling musical sentence fragments, the album glided into one ear and out the other at some points. I wish that there was a more consistent presence of sampled lectures on the album, or something akin to more traditional metal vocals. I don’t think this is an outright failure of the project; it can just sometimes feel more like a half-hearted video game score than what I think it’s going for.
From the galactic, synthy shredding of “Carpe Diem” to the epic scale of the closer, “Moving Mountains,” a lot of moments on Stoic are inspiring if you approach them with the right mindset. It encouraged me to let go of all the uncontrollable sources of stress in my life and focus on the things that I can actually change and impact for the better in a time where, in all honesty, I really needed that reminder. –Lilith Pernichele