It is fair to say that as the years and their releases have leapt upon ears, it always feels like a bit of an event when a new zebrahead incitement is uncaged with so many encounters providing a memorable experience here and increasingly so in recent times. The arrival of their new EP has proven it had no inclination to change things, the release a five track stomp of their genre fluid sound with all the familiar energy, roar and creative devilry we have come to expect.
II is the second of a trio of EPs making up the band’s new album, its release in three parts started by the III EP in 2021 and scheduled to be completed late autumn 2023 with the I EP. Again, as proven by the new offering, though you know what you are going to get within a zebrahead release they never feed expectations or fail to unleash fresh fun and adventure, indeed with every passing encounter only keener individuality at their core is exposed.
Driven by the rhythmic agility of bassist Ben Osmundson and drummer Ed Udhus and animated by the twin vocal devilment of vocalist/rapper Ali Tabatabaee and vocalist/guitarist Adrian Estrella, the zebrahead sound is a persistent surge of adrenaline cured enterprise and inhibition squashing fun, it all wired in the hooks and cunning sprung by the guitars of Dan Palmer and Estrella. It is a proposition bred in pop punk, punk rock and rap-core with a bent to embrace any other flavour the band’s imagination can get its teeth into, ska, metal and alt rock amongst them, and as bold as ever in their new proposal.
The II EP immediately gets about burrowing under the skin with opener No Tomorrow, the track instantly tunnelling with steely guitar vines and coaxing riffs, an invitation soon enhanced by jabbing beats before it erupts in fiery uproar. A mere breath further and the track is jumping all over the senses with its animated virulence and temptation swung exploits with vocals, as usual, as active and involving as the sounds around them; the song a punchy uproar of manipulation.
Licking on a Knife for Fun follows, calmly luring ears with its melodic tempting of voice and slightly harsher guitar. As so often, the band almost taunts with gentler moments, calms daring the listener to dive headlong into the clamorous mayhem to come with this song’s coming a few breaths later with senses targeting beats and metal kilned riffs. Pugilistic in its confrontation, virulent in its catchiness, the track easily had the body bouncing and vocal chords flexing, allowing just enough breath to be saved ready for next up Evil Anonymous. A ska punk nurtured stomp with lust tapping hooks, the track’s own contagion loaded swing is bound in a web of guitar cunning and fair to say that being raucous in adrenaline and mischievous in every aspect, our enslavement was earned in no time.
The darker trespass of Middle Seat Blues quickly spins its own trap of sound and invention next. Aggressive on the edge of bullying, the track is a metal and punk rock kilned incitement with another individual vein in infection, every second of its body a confrontational yet viral surge of creative commotion.
F.L.F.U. completes the release, a more even tempered proposal compared to its predecessor but one with agitation in its heart and melodic fire in its winds. There is a touch of punk legends CIV to the track which caught the imagination as keenly as its inherent melodic punk industry and the blaze in its emotive fuelling.
It is a superb end to a vigorously rousing and inspiriting encounter, yet another with zebrahead but easily one of, indeed maybe their very finest.
The II EP is out February 3rd via MFZB Records/Avex Group.
Forthcoming Gigs/Tour Dates:
27th May 2023 – Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield UK
28th May 2023 – Slam Dunk Festival, Leeds UK
21st October 2023 – When We Were Young Festival, Las Vegas USA
https://zebrahead.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Zebrahead https://twitter.com/zebrahead https://www.instagram.com/zebraheadofficial/
Pete RingMaster 31/01/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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