Apostolis "Retromaniac" Psarros
The majority of late-70's Art Rock bands in Italy hadn't the chance to record a regular disc and Zaum were no exception. Led by guitarist Claudio D'Errico, Zaum were unlucky to release anything even in the 90's with a fresh and younger line-up and the band split up for good around 2000. Fabricio Di Vicino of Psych Up Melodies has become an expert of surfacing obscure efforts from recent and far past and in 2012 he offered some recordings by Zaum, captured either live or in studio between 1997 and 1999.
Claudio D'Errico remained the leading figure of the band, featuring also Marco Santana on drums, Mauro Romano on bass and Pasqule Setola on vocals with the help of Peppe Sannino on percussion. The style of this group is simply very weird, like if AREA were born in the 90's and had left their Fusion side for more funky and heavier adventures. Of course Claudio D'Errico is no Demetrio Stratos, his voice though is all over the place and has a very theatrical twist.The music of Zaum is atonal and groovy, being the main characteristics of the album. A combination of heavy riffs, funky bass lines, dynamic drumming and poetic lyricism, which draws influences from Jazz, Funk and Alternative/Heavy Rock. There are also some good breaks within the short tracks, taking each song from a joyful mood to an aggressive atmosphere. The problems of this release though are several. Firstly there is total abscence of any kind of melodies, making the whole material quite forgettable. Additionally ''Materialismus'' is heavily vocal-oriented and you get constantly a feeling that the listening needs a breeze of instrumental air. The similarity between the tracks is also a negative factor. Heavy grooves, funky rhythms, quasi improvised sections are the basic characteristics in every track. Undoubtfully the talent is there, it just seems the group is stuck in a specific sound all the way.
Zaum's previously unreleased material was a good reason for D'Errico to reform the group, which hopefully comes up with a more creative style in the near future. ''Materialismus'' is a decent listening for fans of more Experimental Rock forms, but the lack of proggy elements will hardly make it an essential addition for a prog fan.