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Zero Down - Good Times At The Gates Of Hell review

Band: Zero Down
Album: Good Times At The Gates Of Hell
Style: Heavy metal
Release date: March 2008

01. Good Times At The Gates of Hell
02. Firebird 76
03. American Dream
04. Loud, Proud And Evil
05. Fistful Of Dynamite
06. Knotty Pine
07. Die Wasted
08. White Witch
09. Bolt In A Bottle
10. Sweet Thing

Style: Heavy Metal
Country: USA
Label: Self-Released
Length: 40:30
Recorded: 2007

Mark Hawkinson - Vocals
Lenny Burnett - Guitars, vocals
Fred Speakman - Guitars, vocals
Ron Banner - Bass, vocals
Tyler Lindsley - Drums

Before my first listen to "Good Time At The Gates Of Hell" by Seattle, USA based band Zero Down, I knew that they were a Heavy Metal band with a "rockin'" vibe. The literature sent to me with the album indicated that they were, and embraced being tagged as such, "revivalists". The band mentions Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, etc as their influences and it's quite clear in Zero Down's music that they have been listening to these bands for quite some time. Even the album's cover artwork (which is actually really good) is illustrated by Ed Repka, the famous artist responsible for album cover artwork of bands such as Megadeth, Atheist, Death, Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, etc. The main problem with revivalist bands such as Zero Down though is originality. Is Good Times At The Gates Of Hell just another complete recycling of old Heavy Metal tracks or will Zero Down bring something fresh to the table?

Well, while you're listening to Good Times At The Gates Of Hell you can't help but think that you've heard this type of music a lot before. With songs such "Firebird '76" you can recognise riffs (from the chorus especially) that wouldn't be out of place on an Iron Maiden track. So I think that those that already really like such "old school" Heavy Metal bands will be the ones to get the most out of this album. Thankfully there is still a bit to be gotten from Good Times At The Gates Of Hell for the casual Heavy Metal listener. Ignoring the originality issue, this album does well to convey the "rocking" feeling. The songs are written in a way that would get most listeners swaying their heads for at least some moments. The guitar work isn't extreme at all, but it's sometimes hard to go past those old school riffs that here still seem quite solid. Zero Down's music is also rather solo-filled so technical enthusiasts will have something to appreciate. As I've mentioned though you have to make a conscious effort to look past the similarity between the older Heavy Metal bands guitar work and Zero Down's. The vocals are the main feature that is distinguishing in Good Times At The Gates Of Hell though. Zero Down has vocal contributions from every member of the band on this release except for their drummer so there's a lot of variety in the vocal department. There's some Rob Halford (Judas Priest, Halford) type higher note stuff and also some deeper voiced signing backing up nicely. There are lots of occasions with group harmonised signing too and having the group shouting forth lyrics is one of the highlights of this release.

So as you've probably gathered by now that Good Times At The Gates Of Hell isn't the most original release going around, but as a bunch of revivalists you probably couldn't expect anything else. For what it is though it's still a fairly decent album. Best listened to on a night when you want to "rock it old school" preferably mixed in with the classics.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by Raiden | 10.07.2008


Comments: 4   Visited by: 47 users
10.07.2008 - 12:59
I was going to say that the artwork reminded me a lot of Megadeth, and then I saw that it was Ed Repka's work I like this cover very much.
11.07.2008 - 07:00
Down Under Staff
Yeah, I like it a lot too. He's a fantastic artist. Here is a list of all the metal albums he's done artwork for, if there was some you haven't seen.
"Scream for me Melbourne!!!!"
- Bruce Dickinson

"I don't see any god up here"
- Yuri Gagarin (while in orbit, 1961)
21.07.2008 - 22:26
Valentin B
what's that thing in the guy's left hand? a buncha snakes?
23.07.2008 - 06:21
Down Under Staff
Yes. Zero Down's website has a larger version of the cover image if you're interested.
"Scream for me Melbourne!!!!"
- Bruce Dickinson

"I don't see any god up here"
- Yuri Gagarin (while in orbit, 1961)

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