Zach Pliska is a Detroit music scene vet, who has played drums in a number of local bands, which has given him valuable hands-on experience writing, recording and touring. Pliska founded VAZUM back in 2017, and over the course of six self-released albums that have found the band’s sound bouncing around and spanning across several different genres and styles including post-punk and doom.
During most of the band’s history, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes but Pliska found a deep connection with Emily Sturm (vocals, bass), who joined in 2019. With a background in the visual arts, Sturm has been instrumental in giving the project, a new, uncompromising aesthetic edge, which has resulted in what Pliska and Strum have dubbed as “deathgaze,” as they combine the raw energy of death rock with the sonic depth of shoegaze.
Last year, the Detroit-based duo was rather busy: They released two albums, V+, which featured the Sioxuise and the Banshees meets Sisters of Mercy meets The Verve-like “Haunted House,” a song based on a haunting, real-life experience, and Unrated V. VAZUM closed out last year with the “Gallows” double single, which featured two different versions of the song — with the first being, a slow-burning shoegazer version of “Gallows” centered around an arrangement of dreamy guitars, forceful drums and Shrum’s achingly plaintive vocals. Sonically speaking “Gallows” is slick mixture of A Storm in Heaven-like textures and brooding Siouxsie and the Banshees-like atmospherics.
Along with the double single, the band released an Emily Strum-directed video for “Gallows” that features the duo — Strum in a wedding dress and occasionally and Plinska in black peering into binoculars in a wintry forest. The brooding and gorgeous visual seems heavily indebted to Edgar Allan Poe.