Ska-punk-rap-metal party starters and Van s Warped Tour stalwarts Zebrahead have released their new album, Brain Invaders and it has been given a most apt moniker! This is their thirteenth album and sees the return of producer Paul Miner (New Found Glory, Atreyu, Thrice, Death by Stereo) and is mixed by Kyle Black (Pierce the Veil, Paramore, New Found Glory). As to be expected, the album crosses genre’s often defying categorisation but if it doesn’t leave you energised and brandishing a ridiculous grin, then you’d better give it another spin until you do! Having survived label and lineup changes, sold over two million albums and even earned a Grammy nomination in 1998 for their cover version of Enter Sandman (as used by The Sandman in ECW). Effectively it was Lemmy singing punk rock karaoke with the band providing the accompaniment gave rise to both Motörhead and Zebrahead being nominated and that’s what counts!
Beaming sunshine direct from Orange County into your mind, this could be your summer soundtrack.
“We are really excited to see how everyone likes this new record. We had a lot of fun making it and can’t wait to let everyone hear it”, says Matty Lewis (Vocals/Guitar).
When Both Sides Suck, We’re All Winners starts with an unnerving oscillating sound, and then the crunchiest of thrash orientated riffs from Dan Palmer before Ali Tabatabaee begins to sing in a glorious hybrid of Children of Bodom meets Rage Against The Machine. Heavy, high octane and with plenty of surprises this is a superb opening track, in fact it’s pretty brilliant, full stop. I Won’t Let You Down has a contagious riff, more of a Beastie Boys feel and a chorus that could make the dead dance.
“All My Friends Are Nobodies was one of the earliest songs we worked on for this album. It has a great message of being there for the people you care about, even though you might not be in the best emotional state yourself”, says vocalist Ali Tabatabee. This was the first single released and it’s a classic slab of poppy ska punk that may well have you surprising the neighbours with your jubilant shouts.
We’re Not Alright was released as the second single and it’s a humorous punky delight with plenty of cow bell. Commencing with a horn section, and driven by the ferocious drumming of Ed Udhus You Don’t Know Anything About Me will get your heart pounding as hard as Ben Osmundson’s killer bass. With a slightly Latino groove, crossed with hints of Tupac’s California Love
Chasing the Sun is as eclectic as it is tasty. Rhythmical, aggressive and addictive, Party on the Dancefloor should appeal across a vast audience. Now for something completely different, a ballad of sorts, surf rock guitar vibes with witty sarcasm Do Your Worst is infectious.
All Die Young is a slightly slower number and seems disturbingly familiar, as an old friend. I am however completely unfamiliar with the sound effects for Up in Smoke an incredibly uplifting feelgood track which could easily be timeless in a Hear The Drummer (Get Wicked) style groove.
Ichi, Ni, San, Shi (One, two, three four in Japanese) takes us into a more metal dimension, demonstrating the skill and versatility of the band. Take A Deep Breath (And Go Fuck Yourself) is a melancholic holler of a rap-based ballad, lighters aloft anthem while Better Living Through Chemistry immediately reminded me of the Fatboy Slim debut album release (same title). This track could also be a late nineties track and also shamelessly genre hops with a sense of euphoric fun. Bullet on the Brain closes the opus in a riff laden beast.
High energy, infectious fun with damning lyrics. Zebrahead are still diverse and avoiding pigeon holing despite their longevity. 8.5/10
- When Both Sides Suck, We’re All Winners
- I Won’t Let You Down
- All My Friends are Nobodies
- We’re Not Alright
- You Don’t Know Anything About Me
- Chasing the Sun
- Party on the Dancefloor
- Do Your Worst
- All Die Young
- Up in Smoke
- Ichi, Ni, San, Shi
- Take A Deep Breath (And Go Fuck Yourself)
- Better Living Through Chemistry
- Bullet on the Brain
You can order Brain Invaders via Amazon here
Zebrahead’s worldwide tour starts with a tour of Australia, followed by dates in Europe and USA soon to be announced.
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