Sunday, 2 January 2011

Something utterly exciting - Solar Zalavia


So, this is my first feature of 2011 and to kick things off, let me introduce Solar Zalavia. These guys are an alternative metal band from Mexico. They formed in Mexico City in 2005 and have so far released two EP's, titled - Something Quite Inspiring (Released Winter 2009) and Nothing Utterly Exciting (Released summer 2010 and reviewed below). They also have a new EP due out in January of this year, called - Smile Gerbera Smile. Solar Zalavia consist of Selko (Communications, riffin' & growls), Zald (Growls, screams & low end), Diego (Beat, tempo & snare) and Russelcrowe (strings). The bands main influences are progressive bands like Opeth and Coheed and Cambria, and metal bands like In flames.

I caught up with Selko recently and asked him about the scene in Mexico and about their music. Here's what he had to say: -

You guys have been together since 2005. How has the metal scene changed in Mexico in that time?
Back in 2005 the whole metal scene in Mexico was mostly punk rock and happy punk, so metal bands didnt have too much support.
By 2007 the scene changed, the "emo bands" took control of the scene, pushing aside metal bands.
Since 2009 the main scene was the deathcore/screamo/hardcore. It has been really hard to establish our name in the Mexican metal scene.
Late 2009, early 2010 meant a change for us, that's when we started to have a small, but significant, success via Social Networks.
Mexico is more open now to "heavy" bands than 5 years ago, but we are still left behind by the pop music industry.

What inspired you to form the band and what is the significance of your band name?
In high school,  we started paying close attention to metal bands, we were really shocked by what bands were doing, both technically and emotively.
Bands like Opeth, Seether, Coheed & Cambria and In Flames were huge influences to us back in the day, we found so much creativity and inspiration in those bands.
That's when we realized that we have to do something, something that contributes to the metal music as a whole.
There's no hidden meaning behind "Solar Zalavia". Solar it's about life and energy, and here in Mexico a "solar" is a an abandoned place.  Zalavia it's the funny part, a story about how the ice cream cones were invented in the beginning of the 20th Century.
Together it's a solid name, we can really relate to it, besides, it sounds really cool!

You have a new EP coming out in January 2011 Can you tell us a bit about it?Yeah, the new EP is named "Smile Gerbera Smile", its in the same line of "Nothing Utterly Exciting". With a bit more of technical and semi-prog stuff, and definitely more growling.
The lead single will be "Sick, Precious Smile". We're still waiting for the final mix of the album. We're really excited about it, if u liked the Nothing Utterly Exciting, you will love the new songs. We hope to upload a couple of songs to MySpace and BandPage (Facebook) by January15th.
A bonus track is ready to be recorded in January, we are planning to record our version of Limp Bizkit's "Boiler" just for fun, adding some fast breaks, screaming and sick guitar solos.
 
What are you plans from 2011?
Play more shows than in 2010. Hopefully promote the band in the US and Europe.
Record more stuff in the studio, and drink as much rum as we can.
 
How have you found touring and playing shows in Mexico? Where else have you toured?
Playing live is what we live for, we love to sweat our souls off in the stage, and never let down our friends while playing.
We have mainly played in Mexico City, a lot of small bars and pubs support local acts, giving bands free beers.

How do fans react to your live shows?
We always try to surprise the audience with our versatility, going from a straight-solid riff, to a mellow acoustic part, to a fast solo, going back to the acoustic stuff, then to a heavy riff, and so on, mixing clean melodies with intense growling. That's what we try to be praised for.

Can you give us your tips on bands to check out from your local scene?
The bigger Mexican metal band would be Here Comes The Kraken, they have toured Europe a couple of times. If u're into brutal deathcore be sure to check out HCTK on http://www.myspace.com/herecomesthekraken. If you are into metalcore and fast sweeping you must check out our neighbors KillTheFury, www.myspace.com/killthefury.


Nothing Utterly Exciting is the bands 2nd EP and was released in the Summer of last year. It contains 7 tracks. I've also done a review of the EP below: -

The EP starts of with a track called Soul Perfection, which sets the stall for Solar Zalavia unclassifiable sound. They use good growling/melodic dual vocals to good effect, over the top of muscular guitar and rhythm section. They include and guitar solo and sweeps similar to Santana and the closest reference point for their mixture of styles would be The Mars Volta.

The next track is a short, spaghetti western soundtrack style interlude called Bizarrely Unexpected. 

The third track is called Love Kills (Pt.1). The band mix low/high growls with almost grungy vocals, which sounds similar to Mudvayne. Again the band make use of the skill of their guitarist to include more wailing solos and clever sweeping guitar.

Track four is entitled Romeo's last stand (Pt. 3). SoZa incorporate a number of styles into this tack including death metal inspired low/high screams and raspy growls, as well as skillful technical/mathy guitar parts. A good instrumental mid-section proves that they have a good appreciation for their instrumentation.

track five is another interlude called Lunaluz Ademir.

This leads into sixth track Ok,go, begins in a thrashy tone, made better by the production of the EP. The song includes more raspy growls and high pitched screams. The band incorporates an acoustic mid section which leads into nice low end screams and mathy guitar before ending with the bands trademark, almost grungy sound.

Seventh track Glassroad (Pt.3) starts off with a nice acoustic instrumental introduction and then builds into a Seether inspired rock ballad.

The eighth and final track is a bonus track called My Bleeding scars, which was the lead single off their first EP - Something Quite Inspiring. It's easy to see from this track where the basis for the bands trademark sound has come from and you can see the progression that the band has made between their two EP'S.

Overall, the EP is crammed full of ideas and different musical perspectives. The band show their influences but make it their own. I can't wait to hear what their new material sounds like when their new EP comes out shortly.

If you want to hear Solar Zalavia's tracks go to http://www.myspace.com/solarmusic. The guys have also very kindly provided a link for a special download that you can do , which includes Romeo's Last Stand and Ok, Go from the Nothing utterly exciting EP and My Bleeding scars from their Something quite inspiring EP. Go to http://www.mediafire.com/?82im8iv6nvlqa51 to download it.

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