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Friday, April 20, 2012

Zeroking – Kings of Self Destruction album review

Zeroking – Kings of Self Destruction album review
Released on: Vanity Music Group Release date: Available now

OK, this is a band that I had never heard of before and so was thinking, oh boy another new band to try and get into, on top of all the other stuff in for review from established artists and more …
Zeroking hail from West Virginia and formed in 2005, this album 'Kings of Self Destruction' is – so the press release says. – the bands third release, although I can only find info on this and one other release, an EP released in 2006 titled ‘Sweet Sale of Excess.’

The band without doubt tends to go for a heavier sound generally, but there is clearly a commercial edge to them, with many of the hook-lines in their songs.
The band consists of: Andy Haught - Lead Vocals, Shane Day - Guitars, Paul "JP" First - Bass and Christopher Webb - Drums.

Opening track ‘Dead Rockstar’ really sets the pace, as it’s a hard rocking tune about drugs, drinking, partying and so on …
Er, if you don’t like profanity - swearing to the common man! – then you won’t like this!
The majority of the song, musically I cannot deny I love, lyrics, well it’s all sleazy stuff and where the vocals change from the main vocal performance here, I don’t like it. It’s like dropping in some thrash grudge vocals … Shame, as otherwise it’s great musically.

‘Forget Vegas’ next starts believe it or not, with a big old brass section reminiscent of the old Ska music that swamped the UK music scene in the 80’s, but then the song totally rocks out as the opener.
Funny, it’s almost like heavy metal Duran Duran with the hooks it has. Really like the performance without doubt, very strong indeed. I’m surprised that they have not been picked up by a major who wants the next Buckcherry, heavier Nickelback or similar?

With ‘She Said’ next, it remains up tempo and musically still as strong as the two previous songs, but as it’s sung it lacks a little something. It’s still catchy and I can’t quite nail what I’m missing, but there’s something.
‘Showtime Revolution’ has an opening riff that almost reminds me of ‘We’re an American Band,’ but then it takes its own identity. Again, very catchy, hook laden material, but the vocals tend to have more of the thrashier sound about them.
Nice guitar solo though, if short.

With ‘Southern Lady X Godiva’ it starts with some southern honky tonk piano, which soon passes and the dirty riffs – consistent throughout. – kick in. It’s almost like a dirtier ZZ Top riff. It is catchy in the chorus again, no question and it’s certainly grooving. The piano reappears briefly as the song enters the final third. Lyrics remain in the same sleazy territory again.
‘Stone Cold Bitch’ opens very strongly, love the riffs and short guitar licks, before the dirty vocals kick in again, but they again shift up and down. It’s almost like Andy Haught isn’t sure which way to take the song vocally, to me.
At times he can sound like James Hetfield (Metallica) even almost like Slayer and then he sings completely differently, with great harmony. Kind of confusing to the listener, but then I guess Metallica have moments like that too. It’s just not my bag …

Next it’s ‘Love Is Dead,’ which also features Stacee Lawson alongside Haught, which keeps the song in a more melodic and commercial vein. Really good track indeed!

The title track, ‘Kings of Self Destruction’ is next and it’s a punchy number, many signature changes and Haught sings with the vocal pretty much in between both directions throughout.

‘Girls of California’ next holds nothing back lyrically, sleazy f-bomb here in every chorus … Then after about the halfway point of the song, Haught gets to the possessed sounding vocals again briefly.

A song about getting wasted next in ‘The Party’s Over,’ the guitar melody seems a little all over the place here and the song doesn’t really grab me at all.

‘Black Friday’ starts with a dark and dirty riff and then gets into a steady mid paced rocker, then ‘Valentine’ starts with some nice piano, accompanied by some strings and it’s actually a very atmospheric ballad. Interesting guitar solo too …

‘Leaving Los Angeles’ next starts gently and then gets into a kind of alternative power ballad groove. Not bad.

Next it’s into the bonus tracks, with an alternative outtake of ‘Valentine’ first, then an acoustic radio station version of ‘Stone Cold Bitch.’
The single edit version of ‘Girls of California’ wraps the album up.

Musically there’s a lot about the album I find pretty good and a lot of the time, I think Andy Haught’s vocals are great, it’s when the ‘possessed’ vocals take over that put simply, I can’t stand …
I’m sure there’s plenty of takers for this though, so what do I know?

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

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