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Z-Lot-Z - Anthology: Power of One Award winner

Z-Lot-Z
Anthology: Power of One
by Mark Machlay at 04 February 2020, 4:15 AM

As vocalist Tom Calandra put it on the opening of the live track on this collection “When you think Texas, think Z-LOT-Z”. The band hails from Houston, Texas and during their heyday in late 80s to early 90s they were a local treasure. They were much more than your average heavy metal band and boasted having a “very special musical vision” in mind. You couldn’t say they were a progressive band but they shared influences, they never seem to have gotten too adventurous to become power metal but they had much more to offer than a simple hair metal band. Unfortunately they formed and played in a time where the musical landscape was changing and while they were known locally and even overseas thanks to international distribution they never made it much past Texas.

The hope seems to be that with this release and the digitization of music, their music can be disseminated to a larger demographic and the band may be viable to either tour or even release new music as there have been a few reunion shows that signals the band is ready, but is the world ready? With this anthology, you get their 1995 full-length debut “Tearing at Your Mind”, 1998’s full-length “Soul Existence”, a six-track demo from 1992 featuring supposedly “lost” track “Stay Alive” and several other bonus tracks such as an outtake from the “Soul Existence” called “In My Heart”, a live version of “The Shadow” and last but not least, an acoustic version of “Shelter” from a 1992 broadcasting of the TV show “Metalurgy”.

There sound could be described as a combination of KING’S X, QUEENSRYCH, and RUSH with a singer that can emulate Geoff Tate and at times has a bit of David Coverdale’s grit especially when he gets into the higher registers. His raw high notes in the acoustic version of “Shelter” coupled with the lows he can achieve in “I Want Out” are impressive. The guitarists had several chances to shine such as with the interesting LYNYRD SKYNRD sounding dual leads into a blisteringly fast guitar solo in “Road to Nowhere”, the crazy lead runs in the outro of “Who Am I” and the fluttery sounds of the tapping technique in “I Want Out”.


With such a large collection, unfortunately not everything is going to be stellar. Each album has some real standout tracks - “Power of One”, “Who’s the Believer”, “Remember” and “Why” were personal favorites. The acoustic version of “Shelter” allows the listener to focus on the subject of the piece allowing for a much better appreciate of the song. However, many songs, especially the slower, groove-oriented ones, seemed highly repetitive, seeming to go on forever, suffering mostly from little dynamic variety. Specific examples would the repetition in the chorus of both “Sanctimony” and “Living For Today”, “Eye of Beholder” by the time the synth leads kick in seems to be meandering, and despite enjoying the acoustic version, the studio version of “Shelter” suffers from Gone-on-too-long syndrome as well.

But there are some absolute bangers in this collection as well. The title track “Tearing at Your Mind” does its job perfectly by grabbing the listener from the beginning, the vocal harmonies and general thrashiness in “Follow Me” are so captivating and “Six Feet Under” is the blowout closer their first album deserves. “Lonely is the Hunter” and” “Stay Alive” from their 1992 EP are great examples of Tom Calandra’s amazing pipes and “Spinning My Wheels” begins with dizzying drum work and is overall dynamically strong. There is plenty to enjoy and is a perfect recommendation for the adventurous old-school heavy metal fan who is eager to hear something unique.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc I

1. Tearing At Your Mind
2. Power Of One
3. Follow Me
4. In The Morning
5. Living For Today
6. Loaded Gun
7. Eye Of The Beholder
8. Six Feet Under
9. Lonely Is The Hunter*
10. Who's The Believer?*
11. Road To Nowhere*
12. Stay Alive*
13. Shelter*
14. The Shadow*
15. In My Heart

Disc II

1. Who Am I?
2. Stomachache
3. Whirlwind
4. Remember
5. M.P.Y.P.
6. I Want Out
7. Spinning My Wheels
8. Sanctimony
9. Family Ties
10. Why?
11. The Shadow (Live)
12. Shelter (Acoustic Live)
Lineup:
Tom Calandra - Vocals
Shane Dubose - Bass, Backing Vocals
Greg Gill - Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Eric Halpern - Guitar
Van Eric Turner - Drums
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records
     


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