Release DetailsLABEL Unfortunate Music LTD
RELEASED ON 6/10/2006
Zebulon Pike II: The Deafening Twilight
posted on 7/2006 By:
Hailed by Minnesota’s weekly news and arts paper, City Pages, as the Best New Band of 2004, Zebulon Pike return with their second full length album, entitled Zebulon Pike II: The Deafening Twilight. Coming in at just over 73 minutes this album contains just five tracks and as you can guess most of them are quite lengthy with two of the five songs exceeding the 20 minute mark and two more breaking the 12 minute barrier. Starting right where they left off with their 2004 release, And Blood Was Passion, Zebulon Pike continue to delve into a world of their own composing full-on instrumental prog meets sludge n’ doom meets jazz and classical influenced metal chock full of odd time signatures, menacing melodies and a down-tuned heaviness that pounds you into the pavement ultimately forcing you to toss up the horns in salute. Trying to sum up their sound is not an easy task partly because they don’t have a vocalist, but according to the bio page on their web site they claim to draw inspiration from bands like Mountain, Pentagram, King Crimson, early-Judas Priest and Rush among others. Keeping in mind there are no vocals here I’d call this a mixture of Iommi-laden riffage with an almost Mastodon crossing paths with Isis and High On Fire type vibe only with a bit more complexity involved in the way the songs are structured together.
The band’s choice to perform without a vocalist is not a common one in the world of metal, but with the dual guitar attack of Erik Fratzke and Morgan Berkus, Zebulon Pike more than make up for this lack of spoken words by letting their instruments do the talking. Their ability to intertwine their individual guitar parts into a beautifully melodic section only to have them at odds fighting against that beauty and one another to create pure darkness in the next section is captivating to say the least. Backed up by the hard hitting and energetic chops of Erik Bolen on drums combined with the exceptional finger picking bass work of Steve Post, this rhythm section provides the perfect foundation for the abovementioned double axe attack by displaying the ideal amount of flash yet knowing when to tone it down and take a step back in all the right places to allow the overlaying melodies and harmonies to shine through.
Needless to say that by having such lengthy compositions there is a lot to digest, and that may be a deterrent for the impatient listener or listeners with the keen ability to reach a verdict after one mere listen. If you like your music to slap you right in the face with the typically standard intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus song structures then this disc may not be to your liking. But if you like to listen to music that offers the challenge of comprehending all it has to offer over repeated listens and still hearing something you missed then this album is sure to please your thirst for well composed, well produced, well performed metal music. These are fully thought out compositions that the band has clearly put a lot of work into trying to perfect, and they’ve done that in glowing fashion.
Other than possible song length issues for some or the absence of a vocalist for others, neither of which bother this writer, I don’t have a whole lot of negatives to point out here as I truly feel Zebulon Pike took all that was right with their debut album and raised their own bar by creating an even darker and heavier follow-up to And Blood Was Passion. I recommend Zebulon Pike II: The Deafening Twilight to any and all fans of music, metal or not, and I would also recommend seeing this band live if you’re in or near the Twin Cities area or if they make it to a town near you. Not only is their live show absolutely punishing but you’ll witness this talented quartet bring to life the creative majesty they’ve achieved so well in the studio.
* To hear some clips from their two studio releases you can visit the band’s web site (clips for new album coming soon) or go to www.aquariusrecords.org and search for Zebulon Pike *
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