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Zig Zags - You'll Never Take us Alive

Zig Zags
You'll Never Take us Alive
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 22 May 2019, 6:30 AM

In the early eighties hardcore punk and the first thrash bands were starting to make waves in the music scene. Some bands, such as THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS, THE MELVINS, MINISTRY, and so on kinda fell in the middle, not quite thrash, not quite punk, but a whole lotta good. In fact, when I first played ZIG ZAGS first cut from the album They'll Never Take Us Alive, I was taken back to that magical time. Raw, but yet complex, "Punk Fucking Metal" sounds like you're listening to two music genres copulating, and it works! They mayhem continues with "Killer of Killer", a proto thrash song that would be at home in an early METALLICA set list. The thing that set this apart was the shear honesty of the music. Turn it to 11, record once, capture the true essence of who they are, no studio magic at all. Actually just a little too raw. I found the mix was off, like it was recorded live at a show. I get the concept, but a little more thought into the EQ would have made it so much better!

"Fallout" was a classic metal tune, and "No Way Out" was so hardcore punk I could feel my mohawk re-establish itself on my head! Those two back to back are the perfect example of their obvious influences, performed to perfection in their respective styles. "Ms 45" was the collaboration of the styles, and the stamp that said "This is what we play, we do it 'cause we love it!” Jed Maheu might not be the most technically proficient singer, but his voice is perfect for their anarchistic style, more a wail than a scream. His guitar playing is frantic but on point, a machine gun style that's precise but loose at the same time. "Why I Carry a Knife" also show cased bassist Sean Hoffman's growly bass tone, over driven but not to the point of sonic mush, allowing him to properly and fills to keep the music going during Jed's solos. Drummer Dane Arnold has that ability to go to cut time without speeding or slowing the actual beat per minute, a thing that is harder to do than you'd think.

The thing that is holding my back from giving them a higher score is the mix, and this is vividly brought to life on the instrumental "Nothing to Do". Way to much high end, it sounded like there was nothing in the middle. The instruments were almost there, a better job on the EQ and this album would have been Chaotic Perfection (tm) and that is sad. "God Sized" would have blown me away had it more depth in the mix. ZIG ZAGS' They'll Never Take Us Alive is a collection of tunes I really enjoyed despite its shortcomings. Energetic, in your face, and true to its many roots, I recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something to throw on at a party where you want to break things or jump around. It'll take you there, and beyond.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 5

4 Star Rating

1. Punk Fucking Metal
2. Killer of Killers
3. Fallout
4. No Way Out
5. Ms 45
6. The Shout
7. Why I Carry a Knife
8. They'll Never Takes Us Alive
9. Nothing to Do
10. God Sized
Dane Arnold – Drums
Sean Hoffman– Bass
Jed Maheu – Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: RidingEasy Records


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