It’s not easy being champions, but for the last two years, the guys from Zirakzigil (Zir’ ack Za’ gil) have carried the flame high. The torch was ignited when the trio won the 2014 Portland Metal Winter Olympics (PMWO), following their release of “Battle of the Peak” (May 2013). Now, with a bag full of confidence, Zirakzigil has grown into one of the more promising bands in the Portland area. Their music consists of deep crevasses, tall peaks, and hidden valleys of progressive, psychedelic sludge exploding with stringent time drops that help Charlie Burns, Connor Tyrrel, and Seamus Tyrrel deliver their fierce and energetic performances. The minimally-dispersed vocals shared by Clarlie and Connor, while infrequent, come off as loud, boorish and derived from their soul, helping Zirakzigil brand their own form of Independent Rock.
The name Zirakzigil, borrowed from the Lord of the Rings saga, basically means “of the highest mountains or peaks,” lending itself to endless conceptualization and masterful riffs! Now, stemming from these roots, comes Zirakzigil’s brand new release, “Worldbuilder” (April 2015). After hearing rave reviews from their recent record release party (at which they opened for Portland’s Witch Mountain), I couldn’t wait to check out how the band has progressed since their 2014 PMWO triumph! The Friday night performance was hosted at the newly renovated Panic Room along with headliner Eight Bells, and newly formed opening act Serpent’s Caul. Zirakzigil made the perfect final addition for another great night of Portland Heavy Rock.
Zirakzigil’s tunes are long by design. No note is safe or hidden, and all are on the table. Consuming inspiration derived from bands like YES, King Crimson, Metallica, and perhaps the spirit of Gandalf, the band lands somewhere near wildly unique. Playing in and out of sync, utilizing strong time breaks and progressive volumes, their songs seem to conjure the transitory nature of the wind, from serene to thunderous. Setting themselves apart from other bands, Zirakzigil’s live shows practically demand at least 45-minute sets, or it’s almost not fair. Following a very impressive set from opening band Serpent’s Caul, Zirakzigil started their set with 13-minute-plus track “Kategoria,” off their brand new release “Worldbuilder.” After a few thank yous, and some tenderhearted love blessings to the crowd from Clarlie, the band forged on with fan favorite, 15-minute-plus track “The Birth of the White Wizard,” off 2013’s debut release “Battle of the Peak!” Then, just like a big puff and exhale, their 2-song, roughly 30-minute set was up in smoke! When watching the guys perform live, you’re almost mesmerized by the energy and spirit which all three possess.
We talk about the Portland music scene a lot, and it’s bands like Zirakzigil that help elevate Stumptown Heavy music to be some of the best known nationally. Closing out the night was Portland veteran trio Eight Bells, featuring a 6-string bass standout. A huge shout out to all the bands, and special thanks to Charlie, Connor, and Seamus for giving us a little extra time before the show! The guys and I met up in the parking lot during happy hour, and had a great chat about “WorldBuilder,” the band’s influences, rules, playing for kids and more. You can watch the full interview by clicking below, or scroll down for more links including the full photo gallery. Thanks for supporting Rock and Urb! I’ll see you at the next show.