Motorhead’s shadow cast long over Lemmy and co’s career. Punk bands especially felt an affinity for the speed fuelled balls out fury the band unleashed. One band that were certainly ejaculated out of Snaggletooth’s hairy phallus is Zeke. Formed in Seattle in 1992 these guys did not stick to the plaid shirt and melancholy of their fellow Washingtonians (is that a word). Pure skateboard video punk rawk madness. Many first came into contact with them via Tony Hawks video games and their live shows were legendary. Til the Living End released in 2004 was 15 tracks of Motorhead meets GBH – every track a killer, if not groundbreaking. Then silence. For 14 long years. Now they are back! A new album Hellbender and a slot on this year’s Desertfest in London. Founder/guitarist and vocalist Blind Marky Felchtone has roped in original bassist Kurt Kolfelt, Kyle Whitefoot(guitar) and drummer Dayne Porras for another spin round the empty swimming pools and dive bars. Thank fuck for that!
Hellbender opens with an 80 second blast of West Coast hardcore. “All the Way” is more Circle Jerks or R.K.L than Ace of Spades and blows any dust off that may have accumulated over the last decade and a half. “Two Lane Blacktop” is a track that has been getting a lot of play on the radio and on youtube and you can hear why. Frantic riffing and punk rock attitude by the time my head stops spinning it is over. There is not a single song over 2 minutes here and in fact only two are over 90 seconds. This is not an album to play once – you got spin this bastard over and over. That is not to say every cut is a hyper blast. “On the Road “ is a bluesy rocker which gets the fist pumping before “Working man” goes full throttle complete with mad punk solo’s. It seems that Zeke have regained the vim and vigour of yesteryear and it has come out as a mad crossover album reminiscent of mid 80’s DRI. Either that or someone has seriously pissed them off. “County Jail” even has a gang chorus that Agnostic Front or Cro Mags would be proud of. Rancid need to look out. These boys got the ‘tood you are trying for. I can only wonder that with the death of Lemmy these guys have come out of his spell and found their inner skatepunk. It is a breathless experience listening to Hellbender . Burn segues into Goin’ Down and I feel knackered just typing about it. “Devil’s Night” is so hardcore it should come with its own bandana and Vinnie Stigma to punch you in the face when it ends. There is just no respite on this album. No samples. No long intros. No instrumental breaks. Just pure testosterone fuelled mayhem and it is a breath of fresh air. This and Bloodclot!’s “Up in Arms” last year give me the kick in the arse I need when I think 44 is too old to be in a band or in a pit. When people are in this kinda form after 25 years in a band it shows that rock and roll does never die – it just needs ice on the knees!
Zeke are back baby. Praise be!
(9/10 Matt Mason)