Never Saw It Coming
Beyond the palm trees, immaculate store fronts, spectacular sunset vistas, and general sense of opulence that Los Angeles projects to the wider world, beats a much darker heart in a city that is still reeling in post- pandemic chaos. Crime, homelessness, drug addiction and many such social malaises point to a much more unsettled and disturbing reality. It is often said that it is in the art that a location produces, therefore, that we find an accurate portrayal of the true lived experience shared by millions of people in a city that seems each day to resemble more and more that of John Wagner’s dystopian vision of ‘Mega City’.
One band that perhaps exemplifies this more than most is the pulverising, post-sludge machine of O ZORN! – a four-piece sludge/stoner metal band hailing from Long Beach, California. Led by enigmatic frontman Bill Kielty, a charismatic and confident performer that sits somewhere between Rob Zombie and James Hetfield in his delivery. The band is completed with the exceptional guitar talents of Justin Suitor, the rolling thunder of bassist Justin Morales and powerhouse drummer Derek Eglit creating the unmistakable, thumping groove that has begun to capture the hearts and minds of metal fans throughout the scene since the band was first breathed into existence in 2013.
O ZORN! has been through considerable trials and tribulations since their last album which was released to excellent reviews on March 20th, 2020.
Not only dealing with the realities of distributing, promoting, and performing music in a world shaken by an unprecedented global pandemic, but also drug addiction, mental illness, and deeply personal losses of friends and family, would all cast doubt over the tenability of the band, forcing them to regroup and rethink their future.
Ultimately, as the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” so undeterred by whatever acts of universal misfortune that might have manifested, the band decamped to Candor Studios in Tampa Florida, to do the only thing they know how, and distil the experiences of the prior two years in a musical body of work that reflects a much more mature and focussed overall direction.
The first radio single, “Never Saw It Coming”, deals with the loss of a long-time friend who was unable to overcome the guilt and grief of losing two family members to Covid-19 within days of each other. The album also showcases a more-melodic vocal approach from Bill Kielty, with an extra emphasis on creating memorable choruses.
The album was overseen by producer Ryan Boesh (Andrew WK, Tomahawk, The Eels etc.). Overall, there is a sense of redemption in the air because O ZORN! mean business, and as the band are now gearing up for what could be their breakthrough album, they are laying down the gauntlet and picking up the challenge. You can expect to see O ZORN! on a stage near you in the very near future, and be prepared to be captivated by a truly unique band as they look to take their place in our globally connected scene of like-minded music fans.