The promo picture that accompanies You’ll Never Take Us Alive, the latest album from American noiseniks Zig Zags, might lead the casual observer to believe they sound like Hüsker Dü, circa 1986… And indeed tracks like Ms 45 reinforce that notion, harnessing that band’s pre-Candy Apple Grey rage and funnelling it into a space-rockin’ proto doom maelstrom. However – and it’s a big however, considering you’re reading Sentinel Daily and not the NME, that same casual observer should take note that, in the grand scheme of things, Zig Zags are very much a heavy metal band. Panic over, rejoice!
Indeed opening track Punk Fucking Metal might well have been a comment on American metal’s state of the union, had it been written in 1985. A rip-roaring mix of the first three Metallica and Venom albums dashed off with a soupcon of Motörhead and a little Sabbath and Celtic Frost to taste, it is indeed a tasty, no-holds barred brew. The band captures the spirit of that particular age perfectly here, and, if they don’t quite pull off such heights of glory consistently enough elsewhere to make this a classic, they certainly do enough to make this worth a fair chunk of your time.
The Shout is quite superb, bringing all the band’s various strands of influence together in four and a half minutes of frantic headbanging mayhem. American punk, euro thrash and English metal – all get thrown into the Zig Zags supercollider here with spectacularly successful results. On the title track the band even throw a bit of Suicide-styled synth punk in to underpin the Ramones-styled thrash that gives the song it’s form. This is clever, well-thought out stuff indeed.
If low-slung, bullet-belted thrills and spills characterised your musical upbringing, like they did mine, then you’ll be lapping this up like the filth hound you undoubtedly are; if you are on the lookout for something less polished than anything parading about as ‘punk’ in 2019 then you’ll also find a safe, welcoming, cidered-up home here too. Hell – if you just like noisy, don’t-give-a-fuck choons banged out by three individuals who clearly care a lot about the music but nothing about what the modern world thinks of them, then this is the record for you. Get involved!
They’ll Never Take Us Alive is out now.