Review Summary: The Undead Strikes Back
I have to admire TDWP's chameleonic approach to their music and the ensuing debates it creates, but sometimes I do wish they could just make up their mind. Still a most notorious archetype of the scene
, their scattergun first two albums weren't to my taste. With Roots Above...
had some fun tracks, but Zombie EP
was a revelation, and statement of the songwriting these musicians were capable of. As much as I appreciate the post-hardcore, Thursday-esque vibe of Transit Blues
and the tastefully done hard rock sound of The Act
, even Dead Throne
's best cuts never quite capture Zombie
's stormy groove, and it is surprising it has taken this long for the boys to stop dicking around and set the drive to 11 like they can so clearly do.
is not the same as Zombie 1
. Mike's screams are different, the guitars sound slightly different; I want to say they sound less deliberate and more frantic than the first’s (but not necessarily to its detriment). The bass is a bit of a disappointment, especially compared to last week’s balls-to-the-wall live session in promotion of the EP, and samples are near-absent. Other than that, this is TDWP at their delightful heaviest. Four hurricane anthems (plus “Termination”) that must sit neatly near their top of their ever-growing catalogue of accessible spook-core bangers. Heavier doesn’t mean better of course, but when you compare the song structure, riffs, atmospheres, melodies, even the breakdowns here to their earliest work it’s hard to believe it’s the same band.
In this reviewer’s humble opinion those riffs are the standout of the EP and quite possibly exceed Zombie
’s. Much credit has to be given to the other instruments too; the vocals are great, the drums are crisp and punchy, and Zombie
’s atmospheric interludes return in a style (albeit sample-less) with synths that also add much to the album’s choruses. Much like its namesake, the album has a concise flow to it, unlike Dead Throne
that at times felt sluggish and peppered with filler. Every song here except “Termination” slaps so picking favourites is tricky. "Nightfall" and "Nora" are great and “Contagion” is an appropriate closer, but the crown might have to go to “Forlorn” which is nearly as catchy as it is dickswinging-ly, headbanging-ly, parents-out-for-the-weekend heavy.
When TDWP make ZIII
and put the bass higher in the mix I might eventually be satisfied, but TDWP’s next tour is sure to be a treat.