Zombies Ate My Girlfriend have been a strong feature in the South African metal community since their inception, having released their Patient Zero EP in 2012 and debut album Retrocide in 2015, not to mention winning the prestigious Wacken Metal Battle in 2016. Whilst these previous releases were strong on all fronts, their new offering, Shun The Reptile, is quite something to behold.
Firstly, the production is stellar: clear, balanced guitars; thundering low-end in the bass department; superior drum sound that doesn’t overwhelm yet hits hard; and vocals right up there in the mix where they need to be. Rarely have I been this impressed by a local metal production, a trend that I hope continues. They clearly have a fondness for both Lamb Of God in the vocal department and Maiden when it comes to the guitar melodies and solos, and this is perfect for modern melodic death metal. The rhythm section is super-tight and work like a well-oiled tank and, to balance things out, the twin-guitar attack courtesy of Chris Hall and Adriano Rodrigues shows that they obviously know each other’s strengths and (few) weaknesses.
Here’s a sample of the goods… stream “Immolation” now!
As a guitar player, my ear is naturally drawn to the guitar work first and foremost. There’s no excessive flash or shredding, more economical rhythm playing with solos that work for the songs and not the player’s egos (and this goes for the bass and drums too, who are working towards a strong song rather than trying to show off). This is always a breath of fresh air, and the fruits show in the final results. The other noticeable win on this record is the dynamics – often I find a lot of modern metal (local and international) can get real dull by just ramming down and flying through the tracks at one volume and one sound.
The Zombies have thrown a number of their influences into the fray, creating both a grand ambiance and a genuine collection of songs that tell a story instead of merely trying to crush your skull. Besides the vital attacks, we have quiet build-ups, powerful clean vocals that show up late in the album (“Icarus”), a grand djent-y breakdown (“Immolation”), unusual song structures, and a well-thought out track-listing that flows with an even and colourful precision.
“The Worst is Yet to Come”… nope, there’s only gold on the horizon for this band.
And just to make sure that you know they’re a metal band, and mean business, look no further than the wonder that is “Go Fuck Yourself” for three minutes and 25 seconds of skull-gnawing aggression. Granted, the album as a whole took a couple of full listens to take it all in, but there are a number of songs here that have been stuck in my head for weeks and are as fresh now as the first time I heard them.
I can honestly say that, without another record suddenly coming at me, this is easily my local metal album of 2018. It ticks all the relevant boxes and remains a tasty, tasty treat. Now they just need to find a way to top it!
Shun The Reptile Track Listing:
01. The Worst Is Yet To Come
02. Nothing Can Save You
05. Shun The Reptile
06. Van Eck
07. Go Fuck Yourself
Run Time: 41 minutes
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Record Label: Burning Tone Records