zhOra: Hold this River - Sludge Metal Short Documentary

The Fractured series focuses this month on Irish progressive sludge metallers, zhOra.

Fractured is a short film venture documenting the little-known recesses of underground Irish music. The work of independent filmmaker John Mulvaney, the acclaimed series aims to shed light on the individuals and bands/projects that operate on the peripheries of Irish culture, fuelled only by fervour and devoted fan bases.

Now launching into its second series of films, Fractured once again promises rare, considered insights into the forces that drive the underground's tangible passion and pays much deserved heed to the voices of its practitioners, whose reward is often purely the satisfaction of creation.

The second film, released today, looks at long-running crust/grind band, zhOra. ZhOra are based in the midlands of Ireland (Clonmel, specifically), and follows the band as they finish up recording their new album, through to rehearsal and live shows in the run up to their appearance at Wacken Open Air 2016.

Guitarist and Vocalist Colin, joined by drummer Tom, discuss what pushes them, and how living in rural Ireland as impacted on their music in the video below. Despite its rich musical heritage and the success of many of its more well-known musical exports, Ireland remains culturally conservative and mostly deaf to talent that lies outside of the accepted norm. Recent attempts by mainstream outlets to examine a burgeoning, but perpetually misunderstood, musically expressive niche have fallen short.

John's attachment to Irish underground music, and familiarity with many of its key players, has granted him special access, resulting in atypical, relaxed interviews and intimate rehearsal footage. Regardless of genres and subgenres, these fragments of undeniable flair reveal an artistic community bound together by a shared heritage, a desire to communicate via their art, and are thoroughly encouraging the DIY approach.

Many of the acts and projects that allow Fractured admission to their world have toiled for years, scraping together the means to fund shared practice spaces, equipment, local gigs and self-managed tours that have sent some as far afield as the USA and Russia - all below the cultural radar of the majority of their homeland. Recognising their veritable labours of love, Fractured is both an examination of underappreciated talent and a paean to the seemingly unshakeable willingness of the Irish underground to forge on against all odds.

Previous bands featured in the Fractured Series include: Abaddon Incarnate, From the Bogs of Aughiska, Ilenkus, Okus and Slidhr.