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Bandolier Kings – Welcome To The Zoom Club (A Tribute to Budgie) Award winner

Bandolier Kings
Welcome To The Zoom Club (A Tribute to Budgie)
by Mike McMahan at 18 February 2020, 1:15 PM

To fully understand and appreciate the BANDOLIER KINGS’ “Welcome To The Zoom Club (A Tribute to BUDGIE),” one must first understand the seminal and legendary Welsh Heavy Metal innovators BUDGIE. Formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1967, and productive in the metal industry (although through several lineup changes) until 2010, BUDGIE has been called “The Heaviest Band of their Time.” They were innovative, blending their heavy roots with elements of Progressive and Funk music, and have influenced and been covered by countless acts; most notably METALLICA, when they recorded “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” on the Garage Days Revisited EP. Lead vocalist and bassist Burke Shelley has been compared, for good reason, to RUSH’S Geddy Lee, and could well have been a harbinger of his vocal style.

BANDOLIER KINGS is the love child of OVERDRIVE and MERRIWEATHER STARK’S Janne Stark and Grooveyard exec Joe Romagnola, both huge fans of the Welsh rockers. Janne, along with TOTO and Paul Gilbert collaborator Tony Spinner, and an absolute Murderer’s Row of special guest musicians, have assembled an hour and seventeen minute tribute to some of BUDGIE’S finest. As a matter of fact, two vets of the band, drummer Steve Williams and guitarist Tony Bourge, make appearances. Ian Haugland of EUROPE and Peter Hermansson of 220 VOLT are also onboard.

Opening the album with the rocker “Breadfan (Rocking Man),” the band wastes little time. The opening, iconic guitar riffs from the original are done sweet justice, and the song resonates with every bit of the same raw energy as the original. These guys have not just tried to parrot (pun MAY be intended) BUDGIE, but to add their own feel and exceptional abilities to the content. The song has an infectious and heavy groove from start to finish.

“Crash Course In Brain Surgery” follows, and is more faithful to the original than METALLICA’s bombastic cover. Janne and Tony show a lot of overdue respect to Burke Shelley’s vision, not only with this song, but later, as well. When you hear the beautiful acoustic guitar work that opens “Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2,” the influence is undeniable… When the song crescendos into the heavy anthem that it is, the love these musicians display for the band’s work is amazing.

This record never feels like a retread. There is enough originality in the presentation to keep any feel of staleness at bay, and the material speaks for itself. There is not one sour moment I have heard. When taken as a stand-alone project, “Welcome To The Zoom Club (A Tribute to BUDGIE)” still shines. When taken as the heartfelt tribute that it is, to a criminally underrated band, it stands tall. Thanks to them for it.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Breadfan (Rocking Man)
2. Crash Course In Brain Surgery
3. Breaking All the House Rules
4. Guts
5. Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman
6. Napoleon Bona Part 1 and 2
7. In For The Kill
8. You’re The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk
9. Rolling Home Again
10. Melt The Ice Away
11. I Can’t See My Feelings
12. Zoom Club
13. Breadfan (Slight Return)
Janne Stark – Lead, Rhythm, and Acoustic Guitars/ Bass
Tony Spinner – Lead Vocals/ Lead Guitar
Record Label: Grooveyard Records


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Edited 01 April 2023

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