Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Zud - The Good, The Bad And The Damned


May 5, 1978 - Ladies and gentlemen.  I am writing this in the humblest fashion I can manage.  If you were alarmed by the headline understand that it is not a joke engineered to generate more readership.  In all of my years as a newspaperman I have never seen anything on par with the supernatural events that took place last night at the University of Maine in Portland.  During the course of a rock and roll concert held there I was able to observe something truly horrific.

Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?  If so do you believe demons exist?  That they walk among us and have the capability to affect people?  I can tell you that before last night I was not a true believer.  That all changed in the middle of the headliner's set.

Out of nowhere there was a flash of brilliant light and the music stopped.  When my eyes adjusted I looked at the stage and saw all four band members convulsing as if they were being electrocuted.  Their hands were extended to the sky and their faces were locked in silent screams.  Before anyone could rush to the stage and offer assistance all four musicians were released by whatever force was holding them upright and they slumped down to their knees.

A deathly silence had understandably taken hold over the audience.  I watched the lead singer nod to the other three men and approach his microphone.  "We'll be right back," he said and the band members left the stage.  When they returned they were wearing disheveled rags and their faces and upper torsos looked to be covered in bruises.  To be blunt, the four men had the appearance of reanimated corpses.

As if their appearance wasn't enough to alarm all the god-fearing audience members the sound they produced was positively ghastly!  I refuse to call it music, but this reporter can readily imagine that noise being the soundtrack to daily existence in Hell.  Only devils and devil worshippers could possibly enjoy the filth blaring out of those speaker stacks.  What made the situation even worse was the obvious glee the "musicians" exhibited during their "performance".  It was disgusting!

Blessedly after about forty minutes of sonic torture a second flash of light blinded me once more.  Blinking rapidly to clear my vision I watched as the four men on stage regained their humanity.  They all appeared confused and near panic.  It came as no surprise when they abandoned their instruments and stumbled offstage.  I was close enough to discern the drummer ask the others, "What happened?".

I'll tell you what happened folks.  I witnessed four men possessed by demons!  That is the only reasonable explanation.  Demons temporarily took control of those four men and created a living nightmare for the concertgoers in attendance.  It was a sickening, shocking, and terrifying event to witness. 

Good day waveriders!  I'd love to boast that every time I explore new music I come across a band or artist that is tremendously exciting.  Everyone reading this knows exactly the kind of experience I'm referring to, where you stop whatever it is that you're doing and stare at the speakers in shock.  Where has this music been hiding?  Why have I not heard this until now?  The truth is that these eureka moments don't occur all that often.  Therefore, when a band like Zud makes your acquaintance you thank your lucky stars and share what you've found.

Zud's album The Good, The Bad And The Damned is a forty minute long, five track odyssey that proves beyond a reasonable doubt there will always be interesting new ideas for musicians to explore.  I did not realize how ridiculously appealing a band that mixes equal parts black metal and classic rock would sound.  That is not a sonic combination that ever crossed my mind, but man oh man is the resultant music superb!  I continue to be blown away by this band every time I listen to their album.

Now I know what you're thinking.  Black metal and classic rock?  This Penfold guy is delusional!  Those two types of music can't possibly mix.  They're like salt and pepper, chocolate and peanut butter, oil and water.  Before TGTBATD I would have agreed with your assumption.  Upon hearing Zud effortlessly switch between walls of pummeling, blackened distortion and epic, clean guitar solos however I've become a true believer!  This band is amazing!  I can imagine them playing extreme metal shows as well as vintage rock festivals and feeling right at home on either bill.

The first song on the album, "Skull Shaped Bell", exemplifies why Zud is such a fine listen.  The song begins innocently with pensive guitar work and tasteful drum accents.  Forty six seconds in and the band starts cranking up the volume, guitar wailing, double bass drum enabled.  Catch your breath because Zud's full metallic fury is unleashed at the 1:30 mark.  Head banging ensues.  Five minutes later the band completely switches gears, cuts out the vicious vocals and distortion, and goes into full on jam mode.  The remainder of the nearly thirteen minute song is dedicated to a wonderful guitar solo that perfectly mirrors the gradual buildup of aggression culminating in the song's dramatic conclusion.  This track is totally righteous, utterly compelling, and perfectly lays out what the rest of the album has in store.

Waveriders this is music that you simply cannot afford to miss.  This is mind-altering stuff with no troublesome side effects!  I'm not a doctor, but I will readily write out this prescription.  Go now to Zud's bandcamp page.  Pay the $6 copay to obtain your medicine, listen, and be happy!  Simple.  Straightforward.  Effective.


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