Saturday, April 19, 2014

Zephaniah-Stories from the Book of Metal (2014 Re-Release)


Six years has passed since Indiana's Zephaniah first released "Stories from the Book of Metal". Recorded at JTW Recording Studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (with producer Joel Wanasek working side-by-side with Zephaniah on this unheralded gem!), "Stories from the Book of Metal" was the band's lone piece of studio work during their initial five year run (2005-2010). With the band now reformed and two new members, guitarist Tony Rudny (Beneath It All) and drummer Cody Johns (Viking, 80000 Dead), pairing up with the returning original members, (vocalist) Logan Detwiler (Valhalla), (guitarist) Justin Zych (Viking, Vindicator, Valhalla) and (former drummer turned bass guitarist?) Ian Bender (Beneath It All), Zephaniah can turn their attention towards their upcoming sophomore, "Reforged". That release should drop sometime later this year and it's worth repeating this little bit of information that has been making it's way around the net (especially for long-time fans of the group although even those who might be new to this Indiana-based band's distinct take on heavy metal would do well to jot this note down as it's bound to be a headbanging good time!). Per the promo material: 

"The band will triumphantly return to the stage to headline the USA's Warriors of Metal Fest VII from June 26-28, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio where the band will play their entire debut CD, "Stories from the Book of Metal" from start to finish."

That sounds like it would be an epic event given the overall strength present on Zephaniah's debut album! On any other day you could call this one straight-up power metal, but that tag would seem to fall short as there is much more to this release then initially meets the eye. Helped out by the stellar production, "Stories from the Book of Metal" features catchy melodies and fairly lethal lead solos that flirtatiously dance between speed metal and European-style power metal. On the one hand it's a somewhat smooth take on the genre (with Logan Detwiler's clean singing giving the band a bit more flash and class then what one might expect from a band of this particular field), but there's little chance of mistaking this album for anything but METAL, what with (amazing) drummer Ian Bender pounding the living daylights out of his drum set and all! Even more amazing is the fact that the bass playing of (the departed) Tyler Sumwalt is actually discernible(!) as that is something that is far too often for my tastes buried in the mix. and finally we are treated to some rather nice piano passages courteous of guest musician Adam Guingrich and it has to be said that the direction that the band took when it came to "Stories from the Book of Metal" is something to be admired. For comparisons sake you could look towards the likes of Hammerfal and Dragonforce as (quite honestly) those two names were thrown around long before I even was aware that this album would be getting a re-release. As source material goes both bands would seem legit although it has to be said that Zephaniah's debut album is colored in differently then those two bands making "Stories from the Book of Metal" a tastefully assembled piece of speed metal/power metal. It's also one that should most assuredly be added to ones' metal collection and it's an album that has me anticipating what this band can pull off on their 2nd full-length adventure!

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