Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Zen Motel
‘We Want Your Blood’
Under Dog Records

Album Review by Alex Eruptor

It has been a few years since I last heard anything new from this lot.  Plying their trade in heavy rock –meets- big melodies punk n roll Britrock, it was no surprise when CJ Wildheart hired Zen Motel to be the ‘Satellites’ in his ‘CJ & The Satellites’ project.  The favour is returned here with CJ providing guitars and vocals on three songs, namely: ‘Kill Your Radio’, ‘Death Rock City’ and ‘Bone Deep in Trouble’.  Yes, one thing you should know about ‘We Want Your Blood’ is that it contains some pretty awesome song titles.  Another thing that you should know is that the production is a more thought-through than you’ll find on your average ‘punk n roll’ type album.  There are some interesting sounds and subtle changes interwoven with the big riffs and sleazy beats, the overall effect is about as dynamic as you’ll get when self-producing, on an underdog’s budget.

After a curious intro, ‘Superhuman Colosseum’ turns into a heavy opener, worthy of its epic title.  ‘The Pit’ sounds like (and is as good as) Backyard Babies at their best, ‘Trust Your Leader’ brings to mind prime-time Crystal Pistol,  ‘Death Rock City’ is as cool a slice of low-slung scumbag rawk n’ roll as its title suggests, ‘Bone Deep in Trouble’ changes the pace a bit with acoustic guitars, keys and a beat reminiscent of LA Guns ‘Long Time Dead’, ‘Curse of the Girlfriend’ is cheesy horror with movie samples and lyrics so bad that they’re brilliant, and ‘I Will End This’ brings some modern shouty vocals into the mix and picks up where AWOL mid 2000s alt-sleazesters ‘The GaGas’ left off.

A damn fine album and the best yet from Zen Motel.  Wildhearts completists need this because of the CJ connection, but really ‘We Want Your Blood’ deserves to be judged on its own merits and demonstrates what can be achieved by underdog rawk n rollers willing and able to go the DIY route.  

Alex Eruptor

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