Zebras -The City Of Sun

Zebras_RingMaster Review

If you could sum up the rage and discontent burning through the world right now it would be in the same kind of angry roar to be found in The City Of Sun, the new album from US punk metallers Zebras. The release is a brawl on the senses, a violent incitement for the emotions, and simply the best thing to come out of the band and arguably hardcore fuelled metal this year.

There is no surprise to the potency and hostility drenching the release, Zebras’ self-titled debut album of 2012 and subsequent release and songs, have all been virulent animosity equipped with the ability to stir addictive tendencies through fearsome hooks, wild rhythms, and searching grooves. The City Of Sun is exactly the same but the trio of guitarist/vocalist Vincent Presley, keyboardist Lacey Smith, and drummer Shane Hochstetler have taken and stretched everything to new benchmark setting levels.

Again like the uncontrollable bastard son of Lard and Dead Kennedys, but with its own ever increasing identity, the Zebra sound instantly burns as opener Hollow Earth brings The City Of Sun to dynamic life. An initial spicily grained groove pierced by thick rhythmic jabs grips ears and attention first, that lure within a few breaths unleashing antagonistic tension and weight as riffs and swinging beats descend with great zeal around the raw tones of Presley. An already in place appetite for the band through past successes explodes with greed as the song continues to twist and rage, the trio spinning a lethal yet contagious web of violence and doom bred turbulence.

cover_RingMaster Review   It is an invigorating and addictive start continued by The Turning Of The Bones, where again the toxic invitation of grooves binds and enslaves as Hochstetler batters and Lacey’s keys stroke the senses. The repetitious nagging quality of riffs and grooves is also easily devoured manna, an essence which enhances every track upon the album as Presley’s ire shapes and colours the confrontational energy and heart of each incitement further like in the outstanding death shuffle of My Apocalypse and the corrosive majesty of The Bell. The first of these two bounces along throwing sonic spears and bone splitting beats out whilst ingraining the imagination with a hook lined groove carrying a Biafra and Co breeding. From one peak to another as its successor seamlessly escapes from its companion with its own hypnotically debilitating rancor and seriously catchy tirade of guitar and bass enterprise. Ministry at their corrosively niggling best comes to mind as the song continues to bind and scar but again the face and character of the song is all Zebras.

Baalbek is a rather similar tempest next, its body and lures closely matched to the previous track though with admittedly equal success, but in the only ‘issue’ with The City Of Sun there is certainly a kind of surface similarity to the tracks, and between others, which less bold and determined listeners might be fooled into thinking the album lacks strong variety. As The Garden swiftly shows it is not the case even though the template for songs is a constant seed. Expelling a thrash like urgency and tenacity, the song goes for the jugular straight away, uncaging more of the prime ravenous riffs and infesting grooves Zebras are already and set to be further acclaimed for. Swarming over the listener from every angle as vocals and drums create a hellacious and addictive beating, the track has ears ringing and emotions lusty, both more than ready for the barbarous tango of Levitation where punk and metal collude in engagingly oppressive conflict.

There is no let-up in the emotional fire and physical ferocity, or indeed the pleasure as firstly Solomon shares its exhaustive ill will and synth led exoticism and then Vitrified which comes forward with a sultry climate around a predacious turbulence of word, voice, and sound. The track is a spellbinding proposal, another fresh spark for the imagination with arguably the album’s most inventive and experimental song, and nectar for the instinctive desire for twisted tapestries of noise.

Closing with the sonic blaze and rhythmic grudge of Filled With Fire, Zebras leave the body shattered, senses drained, and emotions aflame. With only a wish for the synth craft of Lacey to be a little more forward in the overall production of the fabulous turmoil, Zebras has crafted another stunning release but more so their greatest triumph yet. They are a band come of creative age and with recent times seeing the band supporting the likes of Jello Biafra, Black Flag, Negative Approach, Melt Banana, High On Fire, Goatwhore, and Die Kreuzen, The City Of Sun offers inescapable reasons as to why Zebras should be spoken of in the same kind of acclaiming breath.

The City Of Sun is out now @ http://zebras.bandcamp.com/ digitally, on vinyl, and Ltd Ed CD.

https://www.facebook.com/zebraswisconsin

Pete RingMaster 07/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Zebras: Self Titled

Zebras

Though it came out midway through 2012 the self-titled album from sonic manipulators Zebras quite simply is an album you need to know about and hear. If like us you are just becoming aware of the band  then see this as the key to infernal rapture and if you already know the magnificence of the release than sit there nodding knowingly as we drool all over this review of one of the mightiest releases of last year.

Formed in 2007, the band from Madison consists of guitarist and vocalist Vincent Presley and synth player Lacey Smith as well as across its years featuring a mix of drummers. Musically the band is wonderfully indescribable merging the insidious aspects of punk, noise rock, post punk, doom, and industrial to name a few spices to their unique sonic infestation. Following on from their EP Parasitic Clones Under The Strong Arm Of The Robotic Machine, the new album is a two sided beast which consists of tracks recorded in 2011 on first side Impending Doom, with drummer Shane Hochstetler of Milwaukee band Call Me Lighting, and on the The Fate of a World Plagued By Soulless Shits side, tracks recorded in 2009 with Shawn Pierce on drums. The release is a breath taking collection of songs which shows the move in sound across the two years covered by the band and the giver of the richest rewards and pleasure.

The first quintet of tracks are those recorded in 2011 and are opened by the towering presence of The Dying Sea. Opening with coverthunderous beats and caustic guitar rubs the song is a brooding doomy weight loaded with the insidious tones of Presley. It is a venomous bruising encounter with a sludge thick energy which sucks the wind from the lungs and hope from the senses before later flailing the carcass with serpentine sonic lashings.

The stunning start is soon left in the wake of Mighty Bayonet, a snarling ravenous rampage of bulbous rhythms, harsh corrosive electronics, and psyche twisting riffs and guitar abrasion. It is a sprawling acidic aural licking with the vocals, a perpetual psychotic mix of Jello Biafra and Russell Toomey of Innercity Pirates/My Red Cell, a malevolent siren within the brief incessant furnace of intensity. In contrast the following Queeny Gloom Doom is a doom provoked arctic wrap of post punk discord bringing elements of Joy Division and Xmal Deutschland into the antagonistic dance of Alien Sex Fiend or Sex Gang Children. As compelling as it is exhausting the song is a darkly shadowed crawl over the senses and emotions with a deviant sexual whisper to its intimidating breath.

A Turd By Any Other Name and Black Cancer close off the first part of the release, both ingenious brawls of sonic intrusion and imaginative violence. The first is a tower of again greedy energy which rages like a hungry fire across the ear whilst the keys of Smith shoot flares of sonic irreverence and flesh spearing melodic weaponry out from within the engrossing wall of heavy aural malice. The other is a punk soaked slice of infection, a ferocious distorted mix of Dead Kennedys, Buzzcocks, and The Pixies which leaves a drooling grin on face and heart, though to be fair all the tracks on the album do achieve that with ease.

Stepping back a little in the evolution of the band the remaining sextet of songs are those from two years before the previous ones, not that you would know it in regard to quality and excellence. As soon as the best track on the release Field-Noise sets off its sonic alarm and the rampant thumping rhythms assault the ear the strongest rapture is fully engaged. Early Killing Joke fused with Mad Capsule Markets, The Melvins, and again Alien Sex Fiend, is the best way to describe the genius at play here, a moment of sheer brilliance and the best song heard in a long time.

Things are just as stunning through the songs Diablo Bianco with its blood thirsty rhythms and scattergun riffs, The Dirty Dice and its viral melodic wantonness and its devilishly discordant hooks, and Tension. The third of these is an acidulous burn of spiky vocals and sonics within a bedlamic presence of manic invention and sinister energy, oh and quite brilliant. The now entrenched treacherously seductive splendour is continued by the equally sensational Wiener Kids and the closing glory of The Serpent & The Pig, the former a riotous ball of mischief which incorporates all the goodness of Pere Ubu, early XTC, and Cardiacs in a twisted embrace and the latter an invidious bitch slap of bedlamic invention and tribal instinctiveness through the thoughts of one wicked set of minds.

It is the stunning end to a sensational album and one can only drool over what will come next from the band. Zebras have grabbed album of the year honours for 2012 with ease and the hearts of The Ringmaster Review.

Find out why by listening to future podcasts of The Bone Orchard.

http://zebras.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zebras/143884414675

RingMaster 03/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright