Fold Zandura is quite a change, musically for Jyro and Jerome, the groundbreaking duo who led the legendary Mortal through 4 albums. Whereas Mortal used a lot of samples and heavy guitars for its industrial front, Fold Zandura relies on more “organic” (their term) instruments. Samples are still used, but they’re more natural, “biological” sounds.
All in all, Fold Zandura could probably fall into the “shoegazer” category, as there are some obvious comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver. However, Jyro and Jerome add their own mixture, and still manage to create a very hard-driving, intense sound, as compared to the general “swirliness” of most shoegazers. Although this is an independent recording, the sound quality is phenomenal and the production is top-notch, another nod to the talent of Fold Zandura.
While Mortal was primarily the duo of Jyro and Jerome, for Fold Zandura they’ve recruited Frank Lenz to fill in on drums, adding a much more propulsive and dynamic element. At times, I can’t tell if the drums I’m hearing are by Lenz, or are a program, or some combination of the two. The addition of real drums also adds more depth to the sound. With Fold Zandura making music like this, programmed tracks alone would not really be adequate.
Evidently, Jyro’s stint as Starflyer 59’s bassist rubbed off on him. “Wencarla” opens up the album with some very ambient, washy stuff that leads right into some intense guitar tracks. Fold Zandura also seems to like that “wall of sound” approach that Starflyer used on their Silver album. “Dark Divine” and “Never” contain a driving acoustic guitar and bass track, combined with weird droney noises similar to those found on My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. However, Fold Zandura has a much more aggressive sound that MBV could ever hope to have.
One thing that hasn’t changed is Jyro’s ability as both a vocalist and songwriter. His voice is still as intense as ever, and carries a certain urgency about it. His voices screams and drips with emotion. His lyrics are still poetic, and he still ranks as one of the better songwriters in Christian music. All of the songs carry with them a highly charged, personal, and intense atmosphere.
While some of Mortal’s original fans may be turned off by this, since it’s not really “industrial,” I think that this new project could serve to open up new crowds to their music. I could easily see Fold Zandura blowing away many of the “established” Christian “modern rock” acts.
Although this is an album review, I’d like to take a minute to share a Fold Zandura concert experience. I had the privilege of seeing Fold Zandura at Cornerstone ’96. The concert was one of the best I saw during the entire festival. However, the thing that impressed me the most was at the end, Jyro led the entire audience in a praise session that lasted at least half an hour. I left the tent at about 2:30 in the morning, filled with awe and praise. I was totally impressed by the sense of piety and humility that came across during that show. I definitely think that Fold Zandura has everything it takes to make it big, and their attitude just further proves it.