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Zed – Trouble In Eden

Trouble In Eden
by Daniel Warnes at 10 October 2016, 8:50 PM

It’s all-important third album time for Californian Rock band ZED. It’s certainly an interesting prospect; this band has already created a bit of a buzz in certain Rock circles and they cite one hell of a list of influences. Sure; you can hear the likes of CLUTCH, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and LED ZEPPELIN bursting out of the grooves and whiskey-eyed leer of the opening song “Royale”, which gets this album started with a heavy right hook in the form of huge riffs and big, gruff vocals. However, it’s only when you look at the slight nuances offered up by the understated-but-noteworthy bass lines that you can see a bit of The Sword peering through their scope of inspirations. There’s even some funk-laden reggae percussion in the cool and eclectic “Save You From Yourself” which shows the band delivering on their claims of having a soft spot for Bob Marley.

“The Only True Thing” sees a good amount of the 90s Alt-Rock and Grunge sounds serpentine their way into the mix, and it is to decent effect. A good amount of bounce-and-stomp feel never hurts an ambitious Rock album. Pete Sattari’s singing really comes into its own by this point in the album, too. He shows a good deal more range between that and “Today Not Tomorrow”; a wah-saturated cock-rocker that screams of a 70s attitude.

Despite the old-school Rock stylings of “Trouble In Eden”, ZED haven’t made the mistake of jumping on the retro bandwagon by smothering everything on this album with a bad production in the same way that so many other throwback rockers have done in the last five years. ZED aren’t wasting their time trying to convince you that they could survive the 60s and 70s if they had only been born early enough for it. They aren’t throwing on bell-bottoms and taking early-day SABBATH photoshoots of themselves, nor are they trying to convince you that they take more acid than anybody can survive. ZED are simply here to rock and play some honest, skilled and catchy songs.

“Blood Of The Fallen” doesn’t quite make the grade next to the rest of the album. It seems a tad morose by comparison to the previous tracks, which could put a swagger into the walk of a dead man. Some slightly troubling lead guitar playing doesn’t help either. “High Indeed” doesn’t handle itself much better by dragging itself on and leaning a little too far towards Stoner Rock territory for my personal liking. These missteps are unfortunate but they don’t derail the whole album, thankfully.

“So Low” puts things back on track; a blues-driven drinking song if ever there was one. This is a song that I imagine CLUTCH will wish they had written first, especially when it slows down into a funk at its halfway point. The to-and-fro singing at that halfway point adds an extra dynamic just to dial up the cool factor. Effortless cool is the name of the game for ZED and if the Rock community at large knows what it’s doing, it’ll be paying attention to this band. I can’t think of many other rock bands going that have such a genuine feel to them. It’s refreshing to hear a band dragging the 70s kicking and screaming into the present day for a change.

Songwriting:                7
Originality:                  8
Memorability:             7
Production:                  7

3 Star Rating

1. Royale
2. Save You From Yourself
3. The Only True Thing
4. Today Not Tomorrow
5. Trouble In Eden
6. Blood Of The Fallen
7. High Indeed
8. So Low
9. Across The Sea
10. The Mountain
Pete Sattari – Vocals/Guitar
Rich Harris – Drums
Greg Lopez – Guitar
Mark Aceves – Bass
Record Label: Ripple Music


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