Guitarist Angus Young only plays three chords, and he makes no apologies for it. Do you think he needs to apologize for playing only three chords? Of course you don’t, because he’s Angus Young of AC/DC.
Same thing applies with Zed, whose second album “Desperation Blues” is slated for release Tuesday (May 21st). The connection between AC/DC and Zed can be made with a shot of whiskey and a middle finger, as this quartet from the San Francisco Bay Area might say for themselves. They list Young and AC/DC as among their influences, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Hard Rock, as it was first established decades ago, but nonetheless still popular. It is the band’s self proclaimed mission to bring back “the guts, the grit and the balls to Rock.” Zed will also list off “contemporaries”, such as Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch and Rage against the Machine.
(Yes, the word, contemporaries is in quotes to respectfully bust on these Bay Area boys, only because Rage and the lot have been around for 20 years. If they were cars, they’d be classics themselves. And, come to think of it, classic is just how I’d describe Zed’s sound.)
Right off the rip, you get a catchy tune coming from the first song on the album, “Please.” It comes out with heavy drums, and a distorted bass guitar. The first few seconds sounds like a funky, jazz/grunge fusion. And, you’ll get that peppered throughout. You can hear the influences of Clutch and Queens of the Stone Age, with the choice in cadence and delivery of lyrics from lead man, Pete Sattari. You can even hear a little bit of Rage in the versatile guitar play of Greg Lopez, and some of that grunge-era bass play from Mark Aceves. By the time you’re into “Crawl Back to You,” the fifth song on the album, you’ve experienced said versatility.
Overall, Zed rings true in what they advertise. To say that you’re not going to get anything new or innovative out of these guys is not meant to imply this album is tiresome or boring. This is you’re Budweiser. This is that steak joint downtown that you like. It’s where you want to go, when you know what you want. Its one thing for a band to say they’re bringing the rock and roll, but it’s quite another when that band succeeds in delivering, and that’s just what Zed can do.
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