Sunday January 21st 2018

DNZL – “The Black Box Recordings”


DNZL – “The Black Box Recordings”


There’s a type of band I sometimes want to review, and in some ways it’s very frustrating because I think, “I really don’t know how to describe this band. Where do they fit in?” But that discomfort is soon replaced with a smile, as I nod to myself, “I really like this band, I really like that they don’t fit in!” I’m happy that, they can’t be classified easily.

And that’s what DNZL sound like to me.

Granted, there’s a good dose of the dreaded “prog rock” I’m hearing, that would appeal to me as much as getting my head nailed to a tree, my eyeballs plucked out and then, them being fed to the birds. (Believe me, it’s quite an unsettling occurrence.) But this is more like a rhythm section that is adept in their playing but won’t settle for any masturbatory, twenty-seven minute guitar workout that ends with a desultory spurt against your eardrums.

And I think a lot has to do with their singer, Mel, who mostly wants to shout in an abrasive, hardcore way and their guitarist, John, from the great punk band Tensor, who wants to kick ass more than shred.

So what comes out of this recipe is propulsive, metal influenced music with vital, venomous vocals along with world-weary, wise words that taken together- is a bit spicey with a bite, and sharp and sour to give it tang, and hearty and rich full of substance.

Let’s dig in:

“Flight” starts with a crazy time signature I count off as 15/8 but I’m probably wrong. But what follows ain’t no math rock/prog rock jerk-off but a slammin’, thrashin’, hardcore onslaught of third rail electrical current running up your spine. “I did too much coke…Goddamnit, goddamnit…I’m too damned stoned.” These are not the lyrics your find on some flimsy Yes album. “They’re gonna find this shit in my veins, when they do, it’s the end of my days.” Elements of punk, hardcore and metal collide and shine bright like broken glass in the sunlight. And when the vocals scream, “We’re going down.” I don’t know if this is someone on drugs freaking out playing their XBOX- but I do know that this is one killer tune full of passion, guts and fury.

“Man On Fire” has the awesome rhythm section setting up a solid, energetic groove while the vocals shout, “Don’t touch my girl. She’s my pride, my joy. You fucking touch my girl. I’ll fucking end your world.” Instead of a song about relationship possession, it comes across more as a protection of a female friend. There’s a breakdown with the tight groove sporting a buzzing bass. “Don’t worry about my drinks, I can hold my own…I’m a man on fire.” This hard hitting song burns like a tattoo needle laid upon your soul.

“Fences” starts out fairly, mild- almost like a Police song in rhythm but then a distant, catchy vocal arrives like it was from Public Image Limited. But once the guitar comes crashing it, the vocals explodes with hardcore abandonment. “Swing for the fences. Don’t worry if they don’t like you.” A simple, but effective guitar solo comes soaring in and then we’re back into the punchin’, crunchin’ rhythm. This song takes a swing at the fences and hits a grand slam. My favorite on the EP.

“John Q” starts out all jazzy and mellow but once the vocals bust in we’re catapulted into a hardcore rage. “Nobody’s getting out alive and I will kill each one, until a heart comes for my son.” Sounds like the protagonist of this song has a dying child and has taken a hospital hostage. This song bashes and thrashes along until it abruptly pulls the rhythm in as the guitar shreds screaming notes out into the void. “No, I ain’t fucking around. Put your hands on the ground.” And I ain’t fuckin’ around when I say this EP, as a whole, is a mighty, impressive first outing.

I don’t think this EP is perfect but I think it has a lot to offer and has a whole lot of promise. I’m confident these guys will ascertain what works for them and doesn’t and soon will land on a style, that is not only unique to them- but is really, really good.

Me, I like anything that will set fire to the dull,old dreams and platitudes of the old people. I’d like to set the old ass politicians asses on fire and put them all in canoes and sail them out towards the North Pole. Where they can wave goodbye to the polar bears, sailing by them on their climate changing induced icebergs. Then let the sorry assed politicians burn away, as their decrepit ideals and thoughts will- surely soon, let them burn to embers.

Oh, and I really like DNZL.


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