There are a few certainties in life: death, arguments, taxes and Zeke kicking arse.
And while it’s been nearly 15 years since ‘Till The Living End’, a blast of ‘Hellbender’ will see those in between years fade like they never happened.
Zeke have been blasting out Motorhead influenced punk rock for twenty five years. Alongside Dwarves and Supersuckers, they represent a strand of the genre which takes just as much influence from metal and old fashioned rock n roll as it does with hardcore punk. Some don’t get them because of this, and those folks are to be pitied.
Their one gig in Belfast saw drummer Donny Paycheck ask the Rosetta Bar “So, ARE ANNY A YOU GUYS IN THE AYE ARE AAAY?” I believe his Editorialness has said he’s never felt a chilly response like it in his life. Nonetheless, those who were there still talk about that gig in hushed, reverential tones.
For me, seeing them last year in Berlin was a revelation.
Despite only singer/guitarist Blind Marky Felchtone remaining (Donny now runs a barber shop and had his passport taken off him in a custody row), they obliterated. High adrenaline, pedal to the metal punk rock n roll. No wonder Lemmy loved them.
And it pleases me to say just how damned brilliant ‘Hellbender’ is.
15 songs in 20 minutes. No fucking around. No attempts to diversify their sound. Just balls out punk rock n roll. Longest song runs under two minutes. Shortest just over one minute. Lyrics about fast cars, rifles…what more do you want?
Noted producer/engineer Jack Endino has done a sterling job of capturing the band’s speed and impact for the studio.
Almost reminiscent of his work with The Accused, I don’t think Marky has sounded as fierce and deranged as he does on here. Just listen to how he barks out the title track before going into a solo that would make Phil Campbell green with envy over its speed.
Notably, this is former Agent Steel / Holy Terror member Kurt Kilfelt’s first full outing on a Zeke record. Although he’s sung and performed on the odd track here and there over the years, he was apparently unable to join full time due to his inability to stay out of jail.
Because of its brevity, you don’t need to read any more about me talking about the album. You’ll have got the message by now.
Life is good when you know Zeke are still around.
4 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 02/04/18