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Zeke | Death Alley | review | punk | metal | Lollipop
Death Alley (Aces & Eights)
by Scott Hefflon
These punks know their metal, and I ain't talkin' 'bout love of Van Halen, Ratt, or those frosted-hair Bon Jovi types. Bassist Diamond Jeff Matz poses with a cig and a bottle of Jack, wearing Easy Rider (aka big) sunglasses and a Bathory tee shirt. If you don't know who Bathory is, go back to yer New Found Glory and Ataris CDs, ya sissies. Metal is as metal does, and Death Alley pounds yer ass like yer the new pretty boy on the cell block. Song pacing is reminiscent of good ol' D.R.I. (16 songs in 28 minutes, you do the math), but Zeke can play like a mofo. Damn near a decade of touring, touring, touring'll do that for ya. And Zeke solos more than pretty much any other punk band I can think of. And this ain't no Queers/Weasel hum-a-long that sings sweetly a melody that woulda made a nice vocal line; no, this is the fretboard shredding that's pure rock, the thrashy gonzo mayhem of, shit, schoolboy Angus in a bad fuckin' mood or The Hellacopters coked to the gills, trying to play soul but tearing it up with wild-eyes and a wide-legged stance, making guitar faces all the while.
Satan, cycles, women, and rednecks are supposedly the topics, and with song titles like "Live Wire," a few namechecking the big S and/or evil, and both "Mountain Man" and "Arkansas Man," you can bet there's not gonna be an "Every time I close my eyes, I see your face" lyric in the lot. Produced by The Blasting Room team, the devastation is spot-on, live and chaotic instead of rich and, well, ALL-sounding. I always like when those guys show their hardcore punk roots. So if ya miss the crash'n'smash thrash days of shredding skate punk (when punks first started wearing Reign in Blood shirts) and think most of today's "punks" are mild-mannered pussies, get this and punch a few of those well-scrubbed pansies in the face for me, will ya?
p.s. Aces & Eights is the Supersuckers' management's label, and A&R dood Dana Sims was the guys who signed/licensed/worked with all The Rock on Sub Pop a few years back (The Hellacopters, Backyard Babies, Glucifer, Zen Guerrilla, Murder City Devils, The Black Halos, The Yo-Yo's, Nebula, and Electric Frankenstein). While I usually don't follow A&R fuckers, this guy brought the goods to Sub Pop for a brief and shining moment when it seemed rock might not ALL be Creed knock-offs. But that dream fizzled while most of the naughty cheerleaders were still dressed and we're left to take a cold shower, scratch our balls, and wonder what happened...