Zhenia Golov - Proscription [cassette] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Zhenia Golov

Proscription [cassette] (2010)

Fuckin' No Regrets

Proscription is more or less the sophomore full-length from New Brunswick, NJ hardcore act Zhenia Golov, and their absolute last. On 2009's Defined by Confines, the now-defunct band stepped it up and unleashed a fairly creative, ambitious and intense take on the thrashy punk/hardcore sound so common in their locale. This 10-song cassette acts as the band's final will and testament, and offers one final, major change in the band's interesting "career" evolution.

As immediately evidenced by the first few tracks, Zhenia Golov closes their career playing the heaviest, most metallic and brutal stuff they've ever laid to tape. We're talking verging on Cursed/Converge territory here (while not necessarily sounding like either band that much), with unnerving, spoken-word parts in opener "Proscription" and the burly, bassy dirge centerpiece "Pole of Inaccessibility" that could have been lifted from a Disembodied or 108 song. That latter track even has a really cool moment of calm with a light, almost flamenco-style bridge. "Privilege" lightens things up early on with more rock-y parts à la Doomriders (with near-classic rock/metal licks sprouting up every now and then amid the howls and low-end rumbling).

One thing the band definitely retain is their social consciousness. In "Honor", there's a calmly spoken-word rant about naming professional sports teams after Native American tribes, and the guilt that might come along with being a PC-minded sports fan. As such a person, it's a sentiment (delivered with pretty sarcastic snark or otherwise, granted) I can relate to. (There's a couple of these completely stripped-down spoken-word parts throughout the album too, though they're more poetic and story-like. That Black Flag influence has really rubbed off on them over the years.) "Erysichthon" is a pretty strong indictment of meat consumption.

Proscription isn't limited to those with aging cassette players, since there's plenty of digital downloads floating out there. If you've been keeping up with the band over the years this is a worthwhile listen, and a good way to call it a day for Zhenia Golov themselves.