Despite dealing in pleasingly heavy sounds, there’s a lightness of touch about Perth’s Jupiter Zeus that marks them out as real craftsmen as opposed to ham-fisted dabblers. This alone makes Eyes on the Prize, their new EP, a satisfying listening experience, but there’s a lot more to this band than mere safe n’sterile competence.
The opening title track is an energising gallop through familiar heavy metal territory enlivened by some superb soloing from Simon Staltari. He replicates this on the second track, Saviour With Destruction, adding some other-worldly vocals into the mix with beguiling results.
Indeed Staltari’s vocals are possibly the most overtly interesting thing about Jupiter Zeus. He’s not afraid to throw in the odd death grunt if it’s deemed necessary; however for the most part he deploys a declamatory tone that’s a little reminiscent of Hawkwind’s Dave Brock. This certainly lifts the band out of straight-up metal territory and off to somewhere a little less prosaic altogether, and really helps to keep things interesting as the EP progresses.
Read it and Weep has a real NWoBHM feel to it, bringing to mind names like Demon and Saracen, propelled along by some nice drumming from Aaron Smith and some appealingly chunky riffage. Midnight Renegade, is slower, spacier and altogether more psychedelic than anything that’s gone before. It takes a while to warm to, but you’ll get there.
Penultimate track Arise adds a bit of prog metal at the start of the track before settling into another mid paced grinder which arrests the attention early and doesn’t relent on the ears til it’s done. The song is only four minutes long but Jupiter Zeus seem to have developed a happy knack for stylishly packing an awful lot into their songs; though never sounding too busy as a result, they certainly sound epic and ambitious in equal measure. This is a nice weapon to have in the armoury.
The EP closes with wistful semi-ballad Broken Plates, wherein the band sounds at it’s most modern, and you could easily hear this on your local ‘active rock’ radio station wherever you live on the globe.
Jupiter Zeus have developed an accessible sound almost all their own, intriguing to the ear and exciting to the pulse. Eyes on the Prize is a worthy addition to their ouvre, and you should do yourselves a favour by seeking it out at your earliest convenience.
Eyes on the Prize is out now.