Ladies and gents, it’s time for me to be utterly honest and admit my bias; as well as being more than a little impressed by the growing line up of talent being put out through Heavy Psyche Sounds, I bloody well love Planet of Zeus. I have purchased, yep, despite getting free review downloads, I said “purchased”, all their CDs, paid to see them a whole bunch of times at assorted headlining, support and festival slots, and never been anything less than blown away by their energy, enthusiasm, and on stage charisma. As such, I find it a bit hard to be objective about ‘Faith In Physics’, their first release via Heavy Psyche Sounds, but I will try my best.
Thundering out of the blocks is opener ‘Gasoline’, and the band is firing on all cylinders, combining chugging riffs with Babis’s angry screamed vocals. This fuzzy goodness continues unabated into ‘Man vs God’, but with the addition mid song of a chilled out funky percussion break, proving they are not just a one trick single paced act. By the time the snarling and overtly political ‘Revolution Cookbook’ howls out of the speakers, Zeus are in full flow and spitting fire. Hell, if you think the current cluster fuck of British politics is something to be angry about, imagine just how much vitriol this four piece has been storing up living through the utter shit show that is Greek politics and an economy that seems to be based on little more than hope and desperation. Even the on the surface chilled out and merry ‘All These Happy People’ has a dark undertone, the lyrics feeling as if they are delivered through teeth that are gritted in a rictus grin rather than a smile, whilst the following ‘Your Song’, and no this is not a cover of the Elton John classic, has an undercurrent of rabble rousing frustration, and ‘Let Them Burn’ sounds like a call to arms against the political machine. Something has definitely happened to rile this group of normally extra mellow stoner rockers.
‘Faith in Physics’ is rounded off by the heavily Prog tinged ‘King of the Circus’, with the band exploring in the opening minutes a sound that is far removed from their normal neck wrenching beats (anyone who has seen them live must like me wonder how bassist Giannis has not launched his head clean off his shoulders!), all before the riffs fire in and the rhythm section bombards the listener with their heavy goodness, the sound fading into a near jazzy tempo by the time the vocals finally creep out of the speakers, the song then building up to a massive closing crescendo. It really is a change from their normal good time rock party sound, and that they are willing to experiment is a credit to the creativity of Planet of Zeus.
As a sign of the continuing growth and diversification of the band, Planet of Zeus can be rightly proud of ‘Faith In Physics’, and with luck it will be the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with Heavy Psyche Sounds. At the rate they are picking up some of my favourite bands like Alunah and Gorilla, I’m wondering if I might have to just confess and set up a direct to the label.