Zero Down – Good Times at the Gates of Hell

Reviewed: May 2008
Released: 2008, Independent
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Seattle metal-rockers Zero Down are back after a short absence, and it’s time for more rip roarin’ good times. Seriously, this band has been getting better as time goes on and I’ve had the pleasure of listening to them grow. 2004’s POUND FOR POUND e.p. was a fun slice of metal, but 2007’s OLD-TIME REVIVAL is where the band really hit their stride of metal-infused rock that was just about the most all-out fun album of the year. Well, spring 2008 is upon us and summer is right around the corner and damn it all if I can’t think of a better band to play the soundtrack of sun & beer.
Before getting to the music, I have to make a point of mentioning the cover art. Seriously, the shot of the old West town with a crazy old man blasting the shit out of everything with a Gatling gun while laughing manically is the perfect picture to capture the shoot ‘em up music enclosed within. It’s a rare case of truth in packaging. I love it.
Anyway, on to the music. As I said about OLD-TIME REVIVAL, this band just has a knack for writing heavy rock songs that are catchier than a hooker’s STDs. Stomping out and wrecking the place from the first chords of the title track to the final swingin’ notes of “Sweet Thing”, Zero Down just levels you with no respite in site. The ballad-like beginning of “White Witch” almost makes you think that they’ve made a play for that commercial brass ring, but that’s quickly annihilated with more careening riffage.
It’s clear that the band have found the formula that works for them, as everything they’ve done in the past is just ratcheted up and amplified on this album. The solos, the riffs, the screams (OK, those can be a little much at times)…it’s all so infectious that you can’t help but be on board. This is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard this year and you can be damn sure it’s going to make an appearance on my 2008 “best of” list.


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Track Listing:
1) Good Times at the Gates of Hell
2) Firebird ‘76
3) American Dream
4) Loud, Proud & Evil
5) Fistful of Dynamite
6) Knotty Pine
7) Die Wasted
8) White Witch
9) Bolt in a Bottle
10) Sweet Thing

Hawk: Vocals
Lenny Burnett: Guitar
Fred Speakman: Guitar
Ron E Banner: Bass
Tyler Lindsey: Drums