So, you've set your ambitions to write an EP full of zombie-music. Now, how would you go about doing that? You could of course pay homage to bands like Goblin, and other acts commonly appearing on soundtracks to movies in the zombie genre, and make a varied mix of instrumentals to encapsulate different moods. You could do like Mortician and other death metal bands, and take the violent approach to it.
Or do it like Zombie Apocalypse - take the best from each world, and mix it with what you know best. As the band is formed from the remnants of Shai Hulud, what they do best would be melodic, intricate metalcore. An EP packed with furios blasting and guitar riff frenzy as well as heavy breakdowns and thrashy sections topped of with multi-layered screaming vocals, this really is a spark of life designed to reanimate even the most lifeless carcass.
Sure, 10 songs (8 if prologue and epilogue aren't counting) clocking in at just over 11 minutes may not seem like it leaves enough room for anything at all to be conveyed. But with an effective mix of frantic metalcore, hardcore breakdows, thrash parts and movie sound-bites, ZA really delivers. The mood is right on the spot for how one would think a zombie invasion would sound, if translated into music.
Opening track "Forthcoming Apocalypse
" is just a noise-filled track with the sole purpose of presenting the concept and leading into 20 second blast "Morti Viventi
" (and if you know your italian, the title is more than appropriate) that repeats just one verse, but sets the tone. Following track, "Red, Black, And Blue
", is one of the best songs on the record, proving that a song under one minute can still be complete - it features a verse with excellent riffage, and a beautifully off-beat breakdown.
"The Dead in the Queue
" is actually over 2 minutes, but still hectically urgent in it's delivery, once again alternating between fast and slow effectively, with an ambiently excellent ending. Hilariously titled "Bastard Shït Bastard
" is yet another 20-second adrenaline blast, but serves more as filler before "Every Day Every Horror
", another high-light of riffs, breaks and hoarse shouted vocals with zombie motif.
Title track "This Day is a Spark of Life
" (okay, not exact-title track) is perhaps the best song on the album, and is just as wonderfully energetic yet catchy as any Shai Hulud ever was - and the chorus lyrics - "This is the skin to the concrete, this is a saw to the bone, this is a spark of life
" - is bound to stick like rot in a zombie brain.
The only somewhat trite song on this EP would, in my humble opinion, be "Fill My Mouth With Dirt
" - not that it doesn't have a sweet riff and all, but at 40 seconds it's still a wee bit repetative. Extra credit for the Al Pacino-soundclip, and the lead over to the awesomely chugging "March on to Victory
" - actually over 3 minutes, and a prime example of how to extend an awesome breakdown into a great song. With eeire guitars, hoarse screams and drums that cut beats in half, it's the perfect closer to an excellent album (although, technically the closer is "Legions of Dead Prepare for War
", which is basically just an extension of the previous track, with ambiguous noise added).
I'll try to, for the first time in a review, make a pro/con list.
*Musicianship - excellent guitars and drums, with equal parts of speed, hardness and technicallity.
*Subject matter - come on, zombies? I love it.
*Lyrics - although I've barely touched upon the lyrics, they are great. As pretentious as Shai Hulud could be, as perfect are the lyrics in Zombie Apocalypse.
*Vocals - Harsh, hoarse and fits like a glove to the music.
*Production - swings from being perfectly imperfect to being bad in places. Very uneven.
*Vocals - Yes, both a pro and a con. But the lyrics can be hard to make out, and they intertwine to the point of incohesiveness at times.
*Song/album lenght - although short songs are awesome, it could've been better if it was longer.
*Two "filler" songs - #5 and #8 (although still good)
"Red, Black, and Blue
"This Day is a Spark of Life
"March on to Victory
For any fan of Shai Hulud, fast melodic metalcore, and/or zombies. I can't recommend this EP enough, if nothing else then just for its artwork (which is awesome) and cult value. But it's the brilliant music that is its main selling point.