Torched Review – Zialand ‘Unbridled & Ablaze


After living in exile for more than a decade, Norwegian musician, singer, songwriter and producer Zialand recently released her long awaited new album ‘Unbridled & Ablaze’. Her burgeoning career as a musician in L.A. came to an abrupt end in 2002 when she had to leave the country with her young daughter due to an abusive relationship. Suddenly finding herself living in exile, she would spend the next ten years in Australia where she explored unforeseen opportunities such as spending more time in various studios, writing and composing as well as learning how to mix. Music became her anchor during her time in hiding, “it was the only thing that I could hold on to at times,” she says.



Photo by Marie Sjøvold

‘Unbridled & Ablaze’ shoots an arrow straight through the heart as it dives into emotionally driven subjects such as loss, living in exile, and longing. Zialand’s style is self described as “cinematic soul pop” that I feel instantly reaches the listener on an emotional level. Do you ever have those days where you just want to sit on the beach, put your feet in the sand and let your dreams carry you away? ‘Unbridled & Ablaze’ would be the perfect companion as the sun hits the water and you drift off to another time and place.

Zialand describes her most recent single ‘Running Cold’ as “a song about a friend of mine and the deeply painful relationship she experienced with her alcoholic dad. Her pain was a complicated tapestry woven over time, blended together by watching her dad distance himself from the people closest to him and her profound love for him and the deep need for a dad. She was the one who found him, barely conscious, as he was slipping into a coma. Blood on the floor, on the walls and in the bed. She was the one who cleaned it all up, stayed by his hospital bed and was there as he fought the inevitable. His death wasn’t pretty. I wanted to honour her and pour some love into all that pain by writing her this song, bringing a kind of witnessing and a reckoning to it.”



Photo by Grayson Gilbert

Other highlights on the album include ‘Fever’ (“about living in exile, the vulnerability and precariousness of life in that existence, not knowing what comes next”), the aching ballad ‘Don’t Look Down’ (“about a good man losing his partner to illness and his way of loving her is by showing up and being there in all the ways he can”), the powerful ‘Shelter’ (“a love letter to my daughter”) and the intense torch song ‘Cleaved’ (“longing for your soulmate, the one you know is out there but not the ‘where’ or ‘how’ or ‘when’ you will meet”).

‘Unbridled & Ablaze’ is a beautiful tribute for all of those in-between moments when something is ending and something new is beginning. “To me, these moments are imbued with both the deepest of grief as well as a most delicate beatitude and rapture. I love the challenge in hunting them down and pin it to words because they are so elusive,” says Zialand.



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