Australian progressive death and groove metal outfit Sanzu first burst onto the stage of the scene in April 2015, with the release of their Painless EP, laying the foundation for what would go on to be a heavily Gojira influenced style of crawling, grooving, menacing death metal on their debut album Heavy Over the Home.
The band doesn’t waste any time on this record, starting it off with Old Orchard Floor, a mid-paced banger rolling on straight bass drums against the backdrop of foreboding walls of sound created by the bass and guitar.
Sanzu continues this concept of extremely heavy, groovy guitars paired with pummeling, tight drums and raspy mid- to high-range screams, that actually remind me of vocals as we heard them on Indian’s releases, bellowing over the massive musical battlefield that all this creates.
I really like how they used some of Gojira’s signature techniques like that very distinct guitar string sliding sound, atmospheric tapping, tremolo picking for slow- and mid-paced riffs, and fused them with their own very groovy brand of death metal with a lot of drive and power.
Those Who Sleep in the East, located in the mid-section of the album and my favorite track off of this record, probably showcases that mixture the best way while also getting as close to Gojira in some parts as no other band ever did.
However, I also feel like this track is the peak of this album, aside from the title track shortly after it, that manages to reach the same level of impact and quality in my eyes.
Tracks like Awaken and Colourblind as well as the general quality of songwriting seemingly dropping a bit, let the second half of the album leave a little bit to be desired for me.
Production-wise the band nails it across the board though, the guitars are heavy and thick, the drums carry lots of weight and the bass has presence and rounds off the rest of the music really well.
The vocals are characteristic and actually have a tiny bit of a raw, oldschool heavy metal crack to them whenever the vocalist projects a lot of his own voice into them all the while creating a strong contrast to the instruments without taking away from them, rather completing the music that way. Sanzu definitely did step up their game on this album and polished their sound a fair bit, leaving me excited to see where they will take it in the future. Heavy Over the Home is an overall consistent and strong record that drops off only slightly in its second half.