Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Zeke - Death Valley
(Aces & Eights/Sonic Unyon)

This Seattle band began rougher and punkier, but now five albums on, Zeke have more in common with Hellacopters, Hammerlock and most pertinently Nashville Pussy. And it's a vicious delicious drag-racing trip Zeke put together, lots of trashy speed metal thrashing with great whiskey 'n' smokes vocals that recall the long-lost Necros. The coolest thing is that between all the linear punkaroll, Zeke cuff the ears with riffs that sound like Tank or Motorhead, especially 'Road Again', which is a knowing pastiche of Fast Eddie riffs (mostly 'No Class' and 'Killed By Death'), even the title and scrappy vocal delivery thereof enunciating like 'Motorhead'. And the production, well, it's drinking man drunky dirty, the perfect pollution level for such smashmouth football. See www.sonicunyon.com, www.zekeyou or www.aces-eights.com for more redneck info.
Rating 7

Various Artists - Nuclear Blast Festivals 2000
(Nuclear Blast)

Creating their own mini molten little Wacken, Nuclear Blast showcase five of their bands, kicking off with the new rock 'n' thrash of the perplexing Raise Hell, who judging from the song shout-outs, think they are Monstrosity. Montreal's Kataklysm is an immense wall of heaviness and for some reason gets a greater wallop of a guitar sound. Three tracks of convoluted, intelligent death prog later, Hypocrisy ratchets one step back to an older school. Their sound is even better, crisp but heavy, the band choosing their grooviest catalogue tracks, a direction I hope Peter rediscovers. Next up is Destruction, representing the oldest school and to no one's surprise, it is a bashing smudge of technical crackles, approaching chaos but never breaking. Sound is again crisp but not as powerful as Hypocrisy's. Mashing all the schools together, and thereby perhaps presaging their demise, is Crematory, an inappropriately gothic way to close the disc, if sequencing matter's worth a tinker's cuss.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 5