Meet the New Zeke, Same As the Old Zeke

 

 

 
Hellbender finds speed punks doing donuts in their own yard.

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April 3, 2018 |by James Greene, Jr.

 

Zeke

Hellbender

Relapse Records

 

Grade: C

 

Gravel-grinding dirtbag speed punk rises from its trailer park tomb on this, the first Zeke album in over 14 years. Hellbender’s velocity matches several previous knuckle-whitening efforts from this quartet, including Dirty Sanchez and Kicked In the Teeth, but the disc fails to offer the same cohesion or charisma. A fast car is great but it needs a nice shape and boss paint job to really get the jaws slackin’.

 

The requisite Zeke topics are addressed on Hellbender — driving (“Two Lane Blacktop”), law enforcement (“County Jail”), heartland values (“Working Man”). Gun control is also addressed, which Zeke is against. Any rocker with a heart could take issue with having a pro-firearm song called “AR-15” in 2018, but nobody has ever been able to accuse Zeke of perfect taste (they once put the smiling mug of Night Stalker Richard Ramirez on the cover of an album). 

 

Not that you’d even know what singer Blind Marky Felchtone is crowing about in “AR-15” (or any other song) without glancing at the track list. Political or cultural points made by Zeke zoom by just as quickly as the outrageous guitar squeals and drum rolls. Speaking of drums, Hellbender is the first Zeke release to be made without founding percussionist Donny Paycheck. Word on the street is Donny’s too busy running upwards of three businesses. 

 

Turns out Paycheck isn’t just a clever name.

 

 

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