Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Album Review: "Zamboni" by Zamboni

Although Zamboni describes themselves as “the worst band ever to attempt any form of music” I actually found their eponymous debut album very good.  If nothing else this long awaited and oft delayed amalgamation of metal and hardcore punk album is a ton of fun in the exact sort of spirit one would expect from such a combined genre. 

  Nine short ferocious songs, which make you want to run around the room, jump on furniture and break things. 

One thing that stood out to me was the production on the drums, which sounded clear and crisp in stark contrast to the buzzsaw guitars cutting through each track with unrelenting energy.  

Since I listened to the album and drafted this review before reading the band’s biography, I did not realize this was partially due to band dismissing their drummer during the recording process and replacing him with recorded drums on four of the nine tracks.  Even live Zamboni has opted to move forward as a two piece plus a drum machine.  

Zamboni performs live, at least in this instance, with a drummer
They did an excellent job with the recorded drums as the sound was both precise and dynamic. 

I didn’t mind the mix, and though I did notice something was different about the drums, I was unable to identify them as having been programmed anywhere.  

Still, I prefer the human element of rock music and like to envision the band jamming in a garage, rather than sitting behind a computer.  

This is one of the reasons I could never fully get into bands such as Nine Inch Nails or Ministry.  That said, the programmed drums were expertly inserted, and very few listeners would be bothered by this.  It should also be noted two other songs feature both pudding pops and drumming from Bill Cosby, or so claims the band.

Perhaps I am influenced by my affection for comic books but my favorite track is “Killer Croc” which details the efforts of the reptilian villain to destroy Batman, by merely throwing a rock at him. Even if it weren’t for the important and resonate subject matter, it would still be a great song.  

A very close second, is the very next track “Stick Em” which features a riff powerful enough to melt faces, and could have fit seamlessly on any power metal band’s album, while still retaining a distinct punk sensibility.

It is not clear exactly where the album was recorded, as the band only reveals it took place "where the magic happens" in Wantage, New Jersey.  Wherever it was, the captured a great guitar tone, as every chord crackled with energy.  

Since a strength of Zamboni is their amusing and catchy lyrics, I think the songs could have been better served by the lyrics being more discernible on initial listening.  But no matter, as the quality of the songs will lead you to listen often enough to soon learn all the words.  Despite their self deprecating bio, my only disappointment is there was only one song about hockey.

Release: 4/15/2016
Genre: Crossover Thrash, Hardcore Punk
Label: Self Released

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