Everyone in their lives will face the darkest and most crippling times; moments which crush the spirit and savage emotions, It is pretty much inevitable. The subsequent journey back is one which can spark the discovery of new strengths though equally others may flounder. In that fight acknowledgement and understanding make for shoulders to lean on and the new EP from US metallers ZombieKing provides both as well as a truly rousing roar for the ears to devour.
The Dead to Life EP was written though a time of “multiple personnel changes, lost loved ones and family members to suicide/drugs/disease” for the band which equally saw “all facing our own personal demons.” The tracks within the release pull no punches, refuse to hide behind secret intimacy and all have been bred to share that understanding while casting “a message of Hope, Faith, Perseverance, and Redemption.”
Produced by Robert Beltran and mastered by Jens Bogren, Dead to Life made a quick and powerful impact with its voracious metal and rock sounds, each track aggressively contagious and boldly woven from an array of styles. The Robstown, Texas hailing outfit opens up the release with Life; a melodic prelude soaked in shadowed intimacy coaxing thoughts before it swiftly evolves into the immediately stirring Dead at the Scene. Riffs soon stamp down their infectious authority as rhythms pounce, the dirt lined tones of vocalist Juan Manuel just as urgently hitting the spot. In no time the song shares its thick swing; every move intent on a virulent trespass even in its slightly mercurial stride as its heart pours lyrical knowledge.
It is a superb start to the release, its twists and turns skilfully woven and further lit by the magnetic craft of guitarist Eddie Salinas. Equally its template makes the base for all tracks behind their strong individuality, the following Kings matching its predecessor’s dexterity and audacity whilst casting its own anthemic character. The grumbling bass of Andrew Garza resonated with ears and appetite in quick time, the predacious swings of drummer Cosme Williams similarly compelling as again Manuel breeds and accentuates the roar.
As with all songs there is something indefinably familiar to the ZombieKing sound at times yet a tasty spice in a fresh recipe as proven again by Down Below. Maybe our favourite moment within the by now irresistible release, the track enters from the distance with a swagger dowsed in a tension that easily connected; vocals and riffs adding to the captivation as every second fed spirit and imagination. Like a mix of Disturbed and The Ugly Kings, the track gripped attention and aroused participation, its drama inventive and unpredictable around the potent exploits of Salinas.
Texas Sky brings the release to a close, its breath carrying the band’s Texan breeding while its heart provides an echo of that support and understanding previously mentioned and of the hope needed to carry all through the darkness. It is a powerfully emotive and inspiring end to the release, that voice to lean on and simply another impressive moment within the EP.
Dead to Life may have risen in difficult times but it is one of the most stirring and enjoyable releases we have had the joy to welcome here this year so far with its release perfectly timed for the dark times the world finds itself in right now.
Dead to Life is out now via Pavement Entertainment.
Pete RingMaster 10/04/2020
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