|Title:||The Last Witness|
"The Last Witness" creeps me out. It's clear Zealotry's second work from last year isn't meant for the ears of this world. Roman Termin's creature charms the listener with a weird kind of death metal, exotic to the point of feeling alien: it brings up names like Demilich and Timeghoul, but still sounds characteristic. This thanks to the noticeable touch in the writing process by the guitarist Pat Tougas, who in 2016 managed to play on three albums in three different bands, even if none of his other works came close to what he did here.
Zealotry put us in front of the unknown, through weird dimensions where our minds would be broken by the number of items our mental faculties can register but can't understand. The pace is unpredictable: even if the band prefers mid tempos, you can't imagine when the next outburst of fury will be. Guitars create a twisted score, made of chromatic scales that make sense only for the R'lyeh inhabitants; they also leave in several occasions space for the bass to shine, even doing solos (as in the titletrack). Finally, the growl is so deep and dark that it seems to come from astronomical distances.
Maybe you got the idea that "The Last Witness" is a messy album. In this case you'd be wrong and by far: there aren't the easy dissonances that are catching on in some areas of extreme metal. Here it's clear that every arrangement has been designed with meticulous care and it feels like the result of many influences assimilated over the years. Add then some musicality that makes the sound more various and complex, still remaining far from inconclusive chaos, and in this way you now have a clearer idea of how this work kissed by cosmic rays sounds.
There's no shortage of elements that make the difference and enrich the compositive value of the release: in my opinion, the longest tracks, "Progeny Omega" and the last one "Silence" are the best ones. Both of them open with a brief acoustic guitar intro, showing then different developements thanks to fresh elements. The former has some great melodic solos echoing traditional heavy metal in the central section, while in the latter we can hear a cello for a short time!
I want to close this review with a mea culpa: I did already hear this album in 2016, and was inclined to put it in my Top 5 of the year. This didn't happen because I couldn't commit to "The Last Witness" the necessary number of listening sessions I need to understand an album, so I preferred other releases I knew better, thanks to 2016 being a busy year for great albums. Today I feel Zealotry deserved that entry. I hope to redeem myself, recommending to buy this album to whoever likes death metal and wants something surprising.