High Roller Records
Right off the bat I just want to say that you'll have to excuse me if this review is too short or, God forbid, a bloody mess as this is my first post-surgery output. While I could have waited until I was actually able to type with two hands (wraps come off on the 27th) I have found myself in a state of withdraw from reviews so, carpal tunnel/fistula removal surgery or not, here I am typing with one hand. Yes, it is every bit as difficult as it sounds. Anyway, I was all set to hate this band from their name alone. "Album"? Really? Come on. Could you possibly have tried just a little harder to come up with a real name? What makes it worse is the fact that this is an Ohio band! Not representing our state too well there guys. Lame name aside this 4-track MLP rather slays. Formed in 2007, the band hails from Rogers, Ohio and "Zephaniah" is the band's sophomore output. Album previous released a self-tilted album through a small label called Nice Life (from Columbus, Ohio). Album (man alive I hate that name!) is made up of/features guitarist/vocalist Winfield Dray, two brothers who handle the rhythm section (bassist/vocalist Jason Hopkins/drummer Josh Hopkin) and synthesizer player Jason Conrad. This 4-track mini LP is a concept album that "goes along with the book of Zephaniah". "Prologue", which perfectly sets the stage for what is to come, opens things up and from that point forward we are treated to some fantastic material that is said to be several years old and not even a fair representation of the band's current ability. If that is the case then killer things are in order for Album. So, I hear you asking "what is this cool sound you are alluding to Andy?" Well, close your eyes and imagine a band that mixes the dark side of Merciful Fate, Black Sabbath and Danzig with thrash (early Metallica) and, believe it or not, everything from classic rock (Cream, Grand Funk Railroad) to Soundgarden! Yeah, it is that "unique" and yet, if you can imagine a world in which all that normally would morph together, it makes perfect sense and just flat out rocks! All of that makes more sense if you read through the band's bio where they talk about constantly adjusting their sound: "We always try to stay out of any sort of genre. People started calling us 'Stoner Rock' so we started playing Thrash Metal. Then we noticed our live sets were mostly heavy and thrashy songs, so we started to slow down and play more mid-tempo sounding songs. We always try to play something new, always trying to surprise the audience." Indeed this is a surprising release and one that points toward bigger and better things. Simply put this is a cool 4-track release. If only they would do away with that stupid moniker though....