From the vestibule of County Tipperary, Irish four piece zhOra have been slowly but steadily forging a niche of their own with a stylistic approach to sludge and progressive metal close to near a decade. Today the band unveil the detailing toward their fourth release Mortals, which is undoubtedly their most honest and with that conceivably pivotal.
Drummer Tom Woodlock elaborates, "I think the main theme and inspiration behind Mortals is frustration. It was a bit of a reaction to the last album we released, as well as, a lot less morose and ponderous. I found that after spending so much time writing this long concept album, I didn’t really feel like I’d properly achieved the idea in my head. The ambition was there but our songwriting wasn’t up to scratch, which is a tough thought to deal with, especially when you’re trying to promote the record and you’re not satisfied with your best effort. I found that trying to write this big stuffy missive about language and philosophy just made me depressed and pissed off in general. Sometimes being an armchair philosopher just leaves you stuck to the fucking couch. Coupled with our original bass player having to leave to deal with a brain tumour before we could even release it, left all of us in a bad headspace. The band at this point was pretty fractured with a good degree of infighting - not a good space to be trying to ponder the 'secret machinations of the mortal coil'. Any music that was going to come out of it would be a lot less ethereal and much more to the point. For example: the music for the track 'Hellfire' was written in 90 minutes."
"One of the best songs to sum up the new album’s vibe and lyrics is 'Demotivator'. It’s a very angry song about searching for meaning in life, and how it left me feeling more depressed than before. There’s the fairly blunt mention of suicide in there too which is something that everyone has had dealings with, and something I was going through myself at the time. In a nutshell, the song has the message of 'Yes, life is absolutely pointless; don’t worry about it too much'."
"The songs all share the connection of being frustrated at something that’s out of your control, or controlling you or someone you care about. Sometimes there’s not much more you can do, than just scream into the wind about it. Across this record, it’s mainly severe mental issues, substance abuse, clerical abuse, death in general, just stuff that you can’t change. But you can rage about these things, and that is healthy and correct to do, which is the main theme for Mortals - 'Life sucks, get it off your chest'."
"In a way, Mortals is one of the most self-indulgent musical ideas we’ve entertained because it’s literally committing to 'I feel this way, I’m going write a song about it'. We’ve always said that we try to write songs about mental health but I think on this record, when we didn’t try to analyse what and why things were coming out, we finally got something that was up to the potential we’ve always had. It’s our best album to date, hands down."
"I’m glad that we went through the things that we did, I don’t think this record would be the way that is without what happened over the past few years."
The album was recorded over 10 days by longtime friend of the band and producer Aidan Cunningham in Bluebird Studios, just outside Straffan, County Kildare. Artwork as seen above was completed by James Sheridan.
1. Coke Vulture
3. The Hollow
4. Wall Of Time
6. Spectral Embrace
Mortals is slated for release March 27th via Hostile Media and will be available in CD format as well as on all major streaming and download platforms.