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ZombieShakerBox: Encrypted
ZombieShakerBox Encrypted album new music review

ZombieShakerBox: Encrypted

Melodic Hard Rock/Metal
5.0/5.0

I'm not sure where the name came from, or what it means. Zombies have been a big deal as of late: perhaps due to the coming zombie apocalypse. (You know it's going to happen.)

This I do know: ZombieShakerBox rocks.

They rock big time on their debut work Encrypted. Coming out of Las Vegas, founded by transplanted DC native and vocalist Kirk Hulshoff, ZombieShakerBox are a bright and shining light for American hard rock. Move over Hinder, trouble's at your doorstep.

ZombieShakerBox band photoEncrypted is a well-crafted platter of very catchy melodic hard rock with a metal edge. I dare say that there is not a single bad track or one filler song on this disc. From the start, with Welcome to My Rave and Blow n Smoke, ZSB brings the groove, rocking you down to get your toe tapping and your fist pumping. Vocal arrangements, a tight rhythm section, and generous guitar solos are at a premium. Answer to No One offers a sublime blues motif, something like Crue crossed with Cinderella, but without the big hair and mascara. You might hear some of that latent blues in Cry thanks to the strutting acoustic guitar; but more likely late Nineties post grunge passed through some sophisticated Eighties melodic rock. And Jami Lin offers a damn fine solo.

Later, Gates of Hell kindles a modern groove metal feel similar to PR mates Texas Hippie Coalition, just not as heavy. Industry Witch wraps up the rock: call it melodic heavy rock with a modern feel. It has a deep and foreboding groove that leads to a faster rock pace, and another vigorous guitar rampage from Lin.

If you kept track, that's six hard rock songs out of a platter of ten. The others are rock ballads, of a fashion. The first is Tigerlilly: perhaps the most heartwarming and pleasing as it's dedicated to Hulshoff's daughter Alexa. In Loving Memory tears a page from the Poison/Skid Row page: a strong vocal arrangement over acoustic guitar. Hideaway is lighter, but with more emotional guitar work paired with piano and simulated strings. Encrypted closes with Ashen, where drummer Tomonori Sugiyama steals the show. Or maybe not, as this song typifies the strength of ZSB's talent. If you want rock, you may be put off when 40 percent of the album is given to ballads. But they are of equal caliber.

I dig ZombieShakerBox and their fine debut Encrypted. Stealing pages from the past, but also invoking the present, this is a solid, well-crafted, and entertaining work of melodic hard rock for a new day. Hope remains for American hard rock, and ZombieShakerBox is one superb and promising reason. Strongly recommended!

Buy it here.






CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

Stealing pages from the past, but also invoking the present, ZombieShakerBox's Encrypted is a solid, well-crafted, and entertaining work of melodic hard rock for a new day. Hope remains for American hard rock, and ZombieShakerBox is one superb and promising reason. Get this album!

Buy it here.

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