Zhenia Golov - Defined by Confines [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Zhenia Golov

Defined by Confines [12-inch] (2009)


Zhenia Golov was always a pretty lyrically thoughtful band, utilizing lightly thrashy, '80s-style hardcore to convey some seriously meaningful diatribes on social/political ideas and themes. But they never quite had the musical ambition to back it up. With their first full-length, Defined by Confines, they're definitely starting to match up with that.

One should notice this new drive immediately with opener "Steal Off," which begins with an ominous piano solo instrumental portion until the song kicks into a dark, galloping hardcore style that seriously resembles Tragedy, but with a wild shout that's a little more melodic and raspy à la Soul Control's Rory Vangrol. Hell, the closer "Stagnant" is anything but, a nearly eight-minute track with moments of completely subtle brooding and otherwise intense pickups.

Those comparisons and methods don't necessarily hold up for the entire record (save "Antipodes" and "Savaging"), but that doesn't mean the band's all over the place. Nor does it mean they don't still reel forward into a more enlivened take on their elder thrash freakouts--the :50 "Brotherhood" and close to the title track both attest to this finely. The handwriting on the lyric sheet is awful but it sounds like "Brotherhood" is an enraged response to an incident of someone taking interest in a band solely based on physical attraction.

Lyrically, they actually seem a little less articulate than in the past, but with even more pent-up rage and maybe some murder threats on here ("Brotherhood," "37 Stab Wounds")? I don't know; it's a little unnerving, but I hope and will assume it's just an at least mildly tongue-in-cheek Black Flag-ish aesthetic. Or some "Falling Down" reference. In any event, the songwriting overall has altogether been stepped up from their past 7-inch releases for sure. While they're not the new Refused or anything, it does show they've made a fairly significant improvement (and we'd guess their even newer full-length, Proscription, qualifies this further; too bad they're breaking up).

Defined by Confines

Black Helicopters
Defined by Confines