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Zeke - 'Til the Livin' End

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Artist: Zeke

Album: 'Til the Livin' End

Label: Relapse

Review date: May. 18, 2004

Who slipped me a Motorhead album? Seattle speed freaks Zeke probably wouldn’t mind me asking that question. After all, on previous records like Kicked in the Teeth and Dirty Sanchez (if you get this title, you know a little something about the group’s perverted humor) they’ve made no bones about their predilection for fast, dirty, and hard rock. Think Angus, think Dee Dee, think Lemmy for sure.

A stripped-down, lock-tight, high-revving trio – comprised of singer/guitarist Blind Marky Felchtone (he of the Kilmeister-ish vocals), bassist Diamond Jeff Matz, and drummer Donny Paycheck – Zeke also seems to play with a good deal of tongue in cheek. I wouldn’t want to press this point too terribly much, but this album is – at 15 songs spanning 30 minutes – so tightly compressed, and so stuffed with the iconic gestures and phrases of the genre that I continually wonder if Zeke aren’t calling attention to themselves in a quasi-parodic gesture. In some ways, believe it or not, I was reminded of the Cult’s 1987 Electric, whose mantra-like incantations of “Yayuh, little baby” and so forth didn’t go down too easily. Felchtone engages in a similar trawling through the genre’s major tropes and phrases, discoursing about riding all through the night, about never going home, holding on tight, romancing a “Little Queen,” about something called Dölphenwülf, and about the ceaseless necessity of rocking.

Hey, for all I know these themes may be explored completely without irony. But it actually doesn’t matter a whole lot because Zeke rocks really hard. These are fast, loud, double-time salvos from that place where hardcore and speed metal meet. The tunes have no frills, content just to blast out of the speakers with verse, chorus, two, maybe four bars of distorted, wah-wah guitar solos, and that’s about it (although, for those keeping a tally of metal cross-referencing, note that Zeke blatantly cop the “Moby Dick” riff here, though not quite as baldly as Cathedral did on The Carnival Bizarre). The unpretentious fun that Zeke whips up would be at home in both an arena and a biker bar (and my understanding is that they’ve played every venue imaginable). I keep surprising myself by putting this back on, as if they might just kick my ass if I didn’t.

By Jason Bivins

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