ZONDERHOOF's self-titled MCD (review here), released in 2007 thru Sound Devastation Records, was an absolutely refreshing debut for me. My enthusiasm was so great that I decided to do an interview (click here) with the band one year later. After that, it became quiet around these cats and I feared that they broke up. But last year I received a promo copy of 'Hakken' from ZONDERHOOF - a clear sign that the Welsh-based group was still alive. Fortunately my worries were unjustified.
'Hakken' is a seven-song juggernaut which continues where the debut left off: bludgeoning, crushing instrumental rock that borders on metal. Right from the start, ZONDERHOOF draws the listener into their bleak world. The monstrous, massive riffs are unrelenting, leaving you virtually no time to catch a breath. Every note is like a punch in the stomach, but it causes a sweet pain. There's an equally melodic and atonal approach to the song structures, but the melodic passages in this album are very subtle and free from any sweetness. Instead, brutality reigns supreme. It's definitely very deep, dark and elusive stuff where each song is very complex, but never too technical.
ZONDERHOOF plays on a gut feeling and that's one of many aspects that I love about their music. To express it differently: it's a perfect mix of basic animal instincts and intellectual superiority. I won't bore you with a detailed description of each track, because you have to listen for yourself to this album. ZONDERHOOF have not reinvented ultra-heavy instrumental rock/metal, but they have created their own riff-filled world. 'Hakken' is incredibly powerful and full of towering riffage and chord progressions that never tire. That said, it's a worthwhile full-length, and I recommend it.