Review: American Zeros – Red, White, Black and Blue

17201207_1176013542517969_926991695215007855_n.jpgWritten by Brett Kihlmire

American Zeros is a band that’s been rocking Southeastern Wisconsin for quite some time now. A group of blue collar rock and metal veterans, these guys bring a tight sound with their latest album, Red, White, Black and Blue. But this isn’t your average hard rock or heavy metal album. This one is all over the board and makes for one hell of a ride.

Kicking things off with ‘Make Some Noise,’ American Zeros give an excellent first impression. A rocking groove, wailing leads, thumping drums and a damn catchy chorus is pure ear candy. This track has a polished sound but keeps its blue collar rock’n’roll sound. The very same can be said of track two, ‘Could,’ though that one has a bit more of an alternative rock feel.

‘Diabla’ keeps things rocking along with thumping groove that you can’t help nod along to and that chorus is just so catchy. Vocalist Citi ZenX’s vocals really stand out on this one. He has something of an apathetic, grungy tone that sets him apart from other vocalists in the modern metal scene.

Track six, ‘F(ull) M(etal) J(acket)’ has some serious heaviness to it and a real anti-establishment feel to it. Citi ZenX’s charging vocal delivery and the military chant in the chorus make this one a real banger while the lyrics are deeply anti-war. This is the first standout punk track of the album and it’s one of the best tunes on the album.

The anti-war, anti-establishment vibe carries on through the interlude track, ‘Innocense Lost,’ and ‘Johnny.’ And while ‘Johnny’ isn’t the most impressive track, musically speaking, its punk meets metal vibe keeps the spirit of this album alive and strong. This vibe carries on with ‘Join the Party’ and the title track, but without question ‘Capital’ is easily the anthem of the album.

About a year back I had the pleasure of hanging out with American Zeros at one of their shows in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During our conversation Citi ZenX told me the inspiration for ‘Capital’ came from the heavy handed crowd control tactics of the Madison Police Department during a pro-union rally. He told me seeing an elderly woman struck down during the round up brought his blood to a boil, but rather than take violent action he decided to write a punk anthem. And believe me, the anger translated very well to music making for hard hitting anthem with a powerful message.

While ‘Something’ is a killer song, it doesn’t hold a torch to the album closer, ‘Evel.’ A tribute to the late, great Evel Knievel, this one sheds the politics for a good old fashioned American rocker. Fast riffs and beats rock this album to completion while Citi ZenX tributes the daredevil. It’s a fun tune and showcases everything that made this album great, well, except for the politics. I really have to salute the musicianship displayed here, as well as the songwriting. This is one of, if not the best track on the album.

A blend of punk, metal and hard rock, Red, White, Black and Blue is a gem of an album. It’s an ambitious and it rocks hard. Though it started off a little on the generic side, it really picked up once the punk vibe took root. From track six and onward it was a free for all of top tier rock music. I’m definitely a fan. 8.5/10

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