Eyal Maoz,
Hope & Destruction
(Tzadik, 2009)

The Tzadik Records website describes this CD as a part of "Radical Jewish Culture," whatever that is. Actually, I guess it is whatever you want it to be. This CD, at a radical length of over an hour, combines rock, metal, surf, avant-garde, electronica and Jewish melody in an intriguing mix.

The first two cuts, "Somewhere" and "Tsi," make you think you are in for a CD of instrumental metal. Without keyboardist Brian Marsella much in evidence, this sounds like a power trio, with Eyal Maoz's guitar backed by the driving rhythm section of Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on bass and Yuval Lion on drums.

From this point, however, there is a lot of variety. The other songs even vary within themselves, going from fast to slow and/or from melodic to scattered. Maoz can play stadium rock at times, then throw on guitar effects, then move to surf or a Middle-Eastern melody, with a guitar sound ranging from clear and bright to "dirty" and heavy. Marsella, in turn, goes from a cheesy organ sound to electronica to emulating other instruments.

It seems that some of this music must be improvised, but Eyal Maoz's group of musicians never falls in to the tiresome noodling of many jam bands. Each of the 12 tracks are compositions, with a defined beginning and end, often incorporating Jewish musical elements.

You can discover something each time you play this CD, which is about the best recommendation I can give.

review by
Dave Howell

10 October 2009

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