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Released: 2012, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Most of us know at least one unsigned band who has toiled away for years, putting in the hard work on the live circuit, perhaps even playing a festival or two but for who the release of an album of any kind seems to always be a few years away. This may leave some music fans scratching their heads while inserting strange, sharp objects into the ear in some weird uncontrollable act of impatience, but for the more enduring fan it sets up a debut album full of well known tracks that have sniffed out every nook and cranny of your local spit and sawdust venue countless times. This gives the album a 'best of' aura to those of us who have been down and dirty with the band for a number of years and 'Sunrise' from South-East London five-piece Zocalo is one such release.
Not that the album fails to deliver to the uninitiated, it's warm, almost cosy vibe welcomes you into a world of southern fried grooves that threaten to incite mass foot tapping' sessions at every foreseeable opportunity.
Like most of 'Sunrise' album opener proper 'Swimming against the tide' sounds like it was born under the sun on a sweaty Bank Holiday weekend, its rumbling groove and smile inducing melody acting as a fine introduction to the revelry.
It's this party vibe that forms the nucleus of 'Sunrise'. 'After all is said and done' continuing the festivities and showcasing why local drum kingpin Rob Gamblin has previously been sat on the stall for other great local South London acts such as Mad Dog and The Inbreds, his militaristic pounding offset by a unique touch that talks to the listener while ensuring the songs rock like mothers.
'Fire and flood' rides on the coat tails of Nick Sampson's and Pete Humphries' guitar heroics, the latter's spongy grooves coating the song with a thick COC-esque paint job, with Nik's solo drives the song to its inevitable crescendo. The screaming guitar intricacies of 'Feel the demon' recalls Nevermore but on a day trip to the beach with Clutch tagging along for the ride, while 'Blind faith' floats on a thick, humid bass line from Wil Chalmers, enticing the chorus to leap from the surface and slap you across all four cheeks.
The second half of the album changes pace with the acoustic 'Lead me home' leaving Sarah Humphries' clean vocals to cut through the imaginary smoke from the fantasy campfire that lit itself after the first few notes. The mid-paced 'Carved from stone' tips its hat to Down, mixing moments of heaviness from a menacing laid back position that sprinkles bite sized chunks of sludge under the suspension. 'Dance of dyonisis' and 'Concrete blues' shift things back up a gear but it's album closer and title track 'Sunrise' that perhaps hints at where the band are heading.
The multiple layers of electric and acoustic guitars along with Sarah's voice hitting previously un-scaled heights and moments of head splitting bass throbbing through the speakers all sharpen the edges of the release inside a thick southern drool, all in its final 6 minutes.
'Sunrise' is an album that successfully wraps up chapter one of Zocalo's career, managing to provide a soundtrack to all our summers and leave the unmistakable flavour for more rooted to our taste buds in the process.
Review by Alan Hicks
1. Swimming against the tide
2. After all is said and done
3. Fire & flood
4. Feed the demon
5. Blind faith
6. Lead me home
7. Carved from stone
8. Dance of dyonisis
9. Concrete blues
Sarah Humphries - Vocals
Nik Sampson - Lead guitar
Peter Humphries - Rhythm guitar
Rob Gamblin - Drums
Wil Chalmers - Bass/backing vox