Chattanooga metallurgists KOZA have never had an issue smelting down their sound into its darkest, basest elements. The guitars attack with blinding ferocity as the drums pummel away at your senses. The vocals howl and whip at your face as their songs rise and fall in elongated movements. They create a deep and cavernous heavy metal noise, and there’s bound to be some scorch marks left in its wake.
Built from the intertwined talents of singer Brooks Rose, bassist Bobby Rayfield, guitarist Russ Cannon and drummer Chris Ross, the band channels their musical ancestors without bowing beneath that monumental lineage. Sections of hard rock, heavy metal and bits of blackened southern rock all find their way into the veins and arteries of their tracks. This music is loud, but it goes beyond volume—there’s a sense of overwhelming urgency to their work, underpinned by a dense rhythmic bedrock which allows them to explore these sounds without being consumed by them.
On their new song, “Hospice,” the band once again subsumes themselves in the history of heavy metal, offering up sludgy riffs and apocalyptic melodies for anyone within earshot. But KOZA isn’t in this just for the sheer thrill of speed and amps (okay, they’re not only in it for those things); they manage to wring a complexity from the genre that few other artists can even fathom. You feel bruised and beaten after hearing this song, but you also feel a certain sweaty excitement and adrenalized euphoria.
Superficially, they’re messing with noise and energized licks and strained vocal cords, but there’s another layer to the band’s work. Despite its straightforward metal appearance, there’s a lot going on within the confines of “Hospice.” It’s not going full force every second, although it can feel that way at times. There are moments when they ride a wave of deceptive restraint that highlights just how dynamic the band can be. And it’s in these moments, when the roar peels back and you can see the astonishing gears inside, that you truly appreciate the wondrous attention to detail that the band has fostered within every second of this song.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.