By Christine Leonard
Instrumental party machines Shooting Guns are at it again, and this time the Saskatoon desertrockers have brought friends ZAUM in on the act. JUNO and Polaris Prize award nominees, Shooting Guns continues to expand in both scope and compliment, adding new members to their already fulsome and stratified sound. Led by the unquiet fortitude of Keith Doepker and the ramblin’ bones of Jay Loos, their firing-line of stringslingers muster up to square off against the and barefooted barrage furnished by affable percussionist Jim Ginther. Banking on a hefty catalogue of western-flavoured metal that is anything but background noise, strut and shuffle in wordless confidence as the temperament of each composition dictates.
A fitting counterpoint to Shooting Guns’ unassuming earthiness, New Brunswick-based ZAUM brings their Yeti-hunt to life with a beguiling combination of melodic charisma and supernatural physicality. Get out yer black candles and Ouija boards, kids. The riffs of “The Serpentshrine” rise at dusk and don’t roll end-credits until dawn, some 20 minutes later. A funerary dirge for fairies who wear boots, this epic comes with all of the fireworks, romance and intrigue that you’d expect from a ‘80s sword ‘n’ sorcery film. A single sprawling saga, the entirety of ZAUM’s lone contribution crawls through sludgy synth bogs and jagged sitar ranges in pursuit of the quest itself. I don’t know what happens if you play this song backwards, but I’m pretty sure the floor will cave in before you attain enlightenment. So, maybe don’t.Himalaya To Mesopotamia, Shooting Guns, Zaum