Archive for April, 2013

Craig Kidd of MuzikReviews.com writes:

ZED is the hard rock band hailing from San Jose, California. Taking influences from past greats such as AC/DC and Led Zeppelin to more recent acts like Queens Of The Stone Age and Rage Against The Machine, ZED are made up of members Pete Sattari (vocals, guitars), Greg Lopes (guitars), Mark Aceves (bass), and Rich Harris (drums).  ZED released their debut album, The Invitation in 2010. In the summer of 2012, they went into the studio to record the songs for their follow up album, Desperation Blues, which is set to be released May 21.

Desperation Blues is a great rock album that takes influences from past and present alike. The album has a bluesy feel underneath its hard rock exterior. Lead vocalist, Pete Sattari gives the album a heavy metal feeling with his powerful gritty vocals.

The song from which the album gets its name, “Desperation Blues,” is a classic example of what a great rock song should sound like. Greg Lopes provides some awesome guitar solos. Sattari brings the song to life with his powerful vocals. Mark Aceves keeps the song moving forward with some great bass playing.

“Crawl Back To You” has more of a southern rock feeling than the rest of the album with its twangy guitar sounds. Sattari really shows his emotions with this song, singing more in a crooning style throughout most of the song. Rich Harris provides some excellent drumming during the song.

Closing out the album is “The River.” The song once again features Sattari’s powerful vocals, and Lopes’s hard rock guitar playing is absolutely wonderful. Harris’s drumming keeps everything together and moving along. The song has a heavy metal feeling with the big hard guitars along with Sattari’s gritty vocals.

ZED is a great rock band that takes influences from Black Sabbath to Queens Of The Stone Age. Pete Sattari’s gritty vocals provide the band with a hard rock feeling. Greg Lopes performs the guitar excellently throughout the album. Mark Aceves and Rich Harris keep the songs together with their bass and drumming respectively. Desperation Blues is an excellent album that any rock fan would enjoy. Whether you’re into Led Zeppelin or Rage Against The Machine, you’re sure to enjoy this album.

Key Tracks: Desperation Blues, Crawl Back To You, The River

–Thanks Craig, we appreciate the kind words!

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By Jason Zins

You ever start playing some new tunes and get that deja vu feeling?  It takes you right back to a good place in life?  I was completely taken aback upon my first listen of ZED‘s Desperation Blues.  I was immediately taken back to my youth and the start of my metal/rock roots.  Led Zeppelin and a touch of AC/DC. It’s  the blues; dirty, in-your-face blues.

ZED is a very talented group of musicians hailing from the Bay Area of California.  These guys are out to prove that playing stripped-down, balls-to-the-wall rock-n-roll can still be relevant.  And they do it well. I hear a ton of different influences here, ranging from the two aforementioned bands, to Clutch and Queens of the Stone Age.; however, they never sound exactly like any of these bands.  It’s like the perfect meld of their influences.

“Please” is a showcase of the heavy end of what these guys can do.  Pete Sattari‘s vocals can be smooth like butter, or sharp like a razor blade.  It just reeks of dirty blues, booze, and a shithole strip clubs.  The rhythm team of Mark Aceves on bass and Rich Harris on drums are tight; it almost feels effortless and floating.  “Skin and Bones” is a rolling and thundering adventure in the blues where Pete really showcases his vocal talents.  He and Greg Lopez share guitar duties and they are just as tight as the rhythm section.  I really like the way these guys transition into the song breaks.  Their songwriting skills really shine.

What really impresses me is the ability of these guys to shift from all out ass kickers like the aforementioned songs, “Killing Machine,” and “Settle The Score,” to the blues-aden songs like the title track and “The Empty Quarter,” and then to the beauty of “Rain and The River.”  Their ability to sound like a blues band or a stoner band or a combination both is stellar.  I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to this album in the last few weeks, and it is destined for a permanent spot in my playlists.

Sometimes a little blues is good for the soul.  I’ll end this with a quote from their bio, which sums up this whole album: “Great Rock and Roll doesn’t  just happen. It’s made. With sweat, swagger and alcohol. And ZED makes rock the way it should be made. Loud guitars, a shot of whiskey and a middle finger.”

Desperation Blues is out May 21 on i:and:i Recordings.

Rating: 5/5 stars

For over 25 years, Jason Zins has been involved in the music industry in one way or another. While his day job is a data analyst, his passion is music, and especially live music. Although he is open to most music, metal remains the staple in his musical diet. See more reviews and metal news at http://www.metalnewsonline.com/. Thanks for the kind words, Jason!

This comes from BlogCritics.org and also appeared in the Seattle PI on April 22, 2013, courtesy of Marty Dodge.

Zed are last, but not least, with their new album Desperation Blues. An apt title for sure, with this being blues-tinged sub-stoner metal. It might be a bit down-tuned but it still retains a fair bit of catchiness and swagger. There is a similar vibe on here to some of the music coming out of bands like The Answer and Rival Sons. No matter what, it is hard to argue with the quality of this release. It is damn good from start to finish, without a turkey in the mix. Oh yeah, this is also their debut album, so onwards and upwards from here, methinks.

Thanks for the kind words, Marty!
ps: It’s actually ZED’s 2nd album, but we’re glad you like it!

ZED-new-photo

When I first sat down to write a review of ZED’s Desperation Blues I never imagined it would be a difficult task. Much to my surprise however, I was at a loss (at least initially) to find the words that did justice to what I was hearing.

Part of my dilemma stemmed from not understanding why ZED’s music was considered, “Stoner Rock.” This perhaps was due to the point of reference during which my musical tastes were formed; the late 60’s and the 70’s. I always thought stoner rock was something like the title track from Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs. You know the track, a sort of subdued, floating and ethereal piece that one could get lost in when, well…stoned.

I found myself on Wiki reading about the stoner rock genre and it started to make sense. I learned that stoner rock is a subgenre that combines elements of traditional heavy metal, psychedelic rock, blues rock, acid rock and doom metal; typically slow to mid tempo music with a bass heavy sound, melodic vocals and retro production.

Wiki went on to explain that what stoner rock delivers, slowed down and magnified, is the riff – the persistent legacy of Mississippi Blues. Some of the listed influences of stoner rock were Blue Cheer (who coincidently were from the bay area like ZED) Cream, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. One Wiki contributor called stoner rock, “A psychedelic-tinged metal and acid rock through the buzzing sound of subpop style grunge.” Another author shrugged away the heavy metal influence, citing punk rock and hardcore punk.

Again according to Wiki, Soundgarden was referred to as the standard-bearers of stoner rock in the 90’s.

As I read this, the “Stoner Rock” moniker started making sense, and I finally found the starting point for this review. Put all these influences in a big heavy bag, add a pinch of Alice In Chains, a touch of Clutch, a dash of early Montrose and a hint of Queensryche, shake it all up and you have ZED.

Desperation Blues stays true to the trademark sound and style of ZED’s 2010 debut album The Invitation although it’s brighter, better produced, and more sophisticated. Desperation Blues harkens back to the classic rocks days when songs told a story musically – when songs had intros and verses and bridges and changes in directions and outros. Back when songs were not dependent on repetitive choruses, or a catchy hook here and there.

Desperation Blues is a nonstop riff machine, where the songs are the hooks in and of themselves. Mark’s bass guitar is solid, intelligent and in the pocket, with great tone and tasty little runs when and where they should be. Rich’s drums are a truly a standout on this record, start to finish. Pete’s vocals are impassioned, emotive and unique in tone. Greg and Pete’s guitars unite for a solid wall of sound, reminiscent of AC/DC, but with a sound all their own…yet they each also go their own way when needed. There are some great, yet not overused harmony guitar licks similar to Thin Lizzy and the Allman Brothers.

Greg expands his soloing on Desperation Blues, and thanks to the improved production of this recording, you can hear them much better. The leads are tasty and effective, but true to ZED’s style, the obligatory, “Lead Break/Guitar Solo” is not the focus of ZED’s music. ZED stays away from the cookie-cutter format of verse/verse/chorus, verse/verse/chorus, lead break/guitar solo, verse/verse/chorus.

The cool thing about ZED is that you immediately know who it is when you hear them. They have their own sound, and that sound is very, very good.

Desperation Blues is one bad-ass rock record. It has variety, and a powerful fluidity of motion. Just when you lock in on a riff they’ll take it up a notch, or change directions, but all the while keeping you along for the ride. And what a ride it is…

Perhaps the single-most telling aspect of Desperation Blues is that is stands up to, (and gets even better after) repeated listenings. It stays fresh.

Track Listing:

Please

The lead track is a real pile driver and a head banger with a pulsating underlying hook. This song is featured in ZED’s first official video from the album. It’s syncopated, brooding and dark, and the Alice In Chains vibe during the breakdown gives you time to catch your breath before coming back and bashing your brains in during the outro.

Skin and Bones

Skin and Bones kicks off with a full-throttle intro. Its acceleration pushes you back in your chair, shifting gears like Montrose’s Bad Motor Scooter, only this ride is a fire-breathing big block V-8. It will likely earn you a speeding ticket if you listen to it in your car.

The ride takes you in and out of foot-tapping and head-bobbing “Cruising Speed” verses. There’s an extended, melodic-yet-still-brooding bridge, featuring a walking bass line and surprisingly soothing harmony vocals, which builds like a dark pending storm back into a heart-skipping riff…progressing into a revisit of the opening riff, and ending with punk influenced vibe.

Killing Machine

This is a marching blues rock number; retro and ballsy. It breaks down into a tasty bridge with nice dynamics, which segues back to the powerful underlying riff. Killing Machine features a haunting bridge, which comes back out again into the opening march. The outro is a driving, straight power chord progression that guaranteed to bring out the air-guitar player in you. Pete’s snarling vocals, with a hint of vulnerability combined with defiant bad boy charisma fit perfectly.

Desperation Blues

The title track from the album features an infectious riff and vibe. It’s a retro piece with restrained power. It’s intelligent rock that builds throughout. Greg’s wah-wah pedal is a perfect fit, and there’s some nice, tight, low harmony guitar riffs and guitar interplay here.

Crawl Back To You

Smart, tight, well crafted and arranged, this cut is one of my favorites on the CD. Crawl Back To You has a Southern Rock vibe, dare I say almost a Southern-Country Rock vibe in places. It opens with vocals and guitar only, with the drums and bass joining in at about the 1:30 mark. Rich’s drums stand out, and the vocals are awesome.

There are hints of Alice In Chains flavors here, as well as the Outlaws and even Marshall Tucker. Well ok, maybe Marshall Tucker on steroids.

More

More opens with bass, wah-wah guitar and vocals that build into a throbbing heartbeat of a riff that ebbs and flows. Imagine Curtis Mayfield’s Freddie’s Dead meets Soundargen and Sabbath. It’s another favorite track of mine, quite possibly my #1 favorite.

There are more AIC flavors towards the end, and it’s an absolute riff monster.

Rain

Rain is the mellowest track on the record, if any song here could be called mellow. Opening with guitar and vocal only, it’s reflective and melancholy. Rain is also one of my favorites.

A ballad with a touch of Southern Rock, with a Moody-Blues meets Queensryche vibe. Rain kind of has that “Seattle Sound” – and could have easily come out of the Northwest in the 90’s. There’s a very tasty breakdown that brews up a looming riff…and then the songs builds and transitions into a Black Sabbath-esque power riff that pounds your senses, softens, and then returns to finish you off.

The Empty Quarter/Settle The Score

The Empty Quarter is more of an intro/teaser for Settle The Score but is something that could have been an unfinished track or just a passing jam. It acts as a table-setter, and runs about 1:14. with U2 and AIC flavors. Segue to Settle The Score, another ZED power play with the accelerator mashed hard to the floor – but in true ZED style it doesn’t stay there. This song simmers through the verses like a hot rod rolling through an intersection, only to floor it again on the other side; spining your tires and shifting gears as you go.

Even with the up-and-down dynamics of the song, ZED still finds a way through it all to develop an underlying sense of continously building tension.

There’s a couple f-bomb expletives used for purposeful emphasis in Settle The Score, and I don’t find their use profane at all. To the best of my knowledge these are the only expletives on the entire album – but I guess that was enough to earn ZED the explicit lyric warning label on the CD. There are some tasty little bass fills in the softer passages.

The River (2012)

The River is a remake of ZED’s opus from The Invitation, and is relatively unchanged other than production value and some additional lead guitar and guitar interplay.

The River could be ZED’s theme song, and/or their encore performance to a sold-out arena. It’s the closest thing to a jam that ZED has recorded, but it’s still got a direction; cohesive and tight with tremendous power and dynamics. It’s a movie soundtrack waiting to happen, delivered with a sledgehammer.

Dusty Said

There is no shortage of bands working to be heard and it’s always nice to be pointed in the right direction. I was given the download code for the new album for a band called Zed by one of the members of their street team. The new album Desperation Blues is set to be released on May 21st and it’s one to pick up. My last blog was a rant about rock music being unoriginal and quickly produced. It seems that most bands don’t have members that have enough talent to be showcased on their records as soloists, within the first few minutes of hearing Zed, I know this is not the case. There is nothing I like better than hearing an actual instrumental intro before the vocalist comes in to start singing. It tells me that there was work done on the song before the words were hastily laid…

View original post 539 more words

I have a friend who lives in Florida. We ‘met’ through a music forum many years ago. We email back and forth regularly, and talk on the phone occasionally. Although we’ve never met in person, we’ve developed a strong friendship over the years and we constantly talk music. Unfortunately he’s fighting a number of long-standing medical issues, and while fiercely independent, now resides in an assisted-living apartment complex.

My friend has an interesting perspective on music. He was ‘there’ during the heyday of Haight-Ashbury, and hung out with the likes of Blue Cheer, The Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis/Big Brother, etc. He’s a big fan of The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, and early Led Zep and Gov’t Mule in particular. He’s also deeply appreciative of the blues; the old Delta and Chicago blues masters as well as more recent blues, blues-rock and classic rock artists.

Back in the day, he was an accomplished guitarist, keyboard player and composer himself. He’s very candid about his opinions, and doesn’t mince words when he doesn’t like something.

I finally got him to download ZED’s The Invitation the other day, and this was his response:

ZED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, mon—why have I not known of these guys before?????? I’ve been up all night listening to this remarkable band, man. I am stoked. Been a LOOOONG time since somethin’ has piqued my “ears” like these boys. I will buy this cd and the new one, for sure.

When/how did you discover Zed?? They sorta kinda remind me a bit of Queensryche “back in the day,” a whole lot of earlier Mule but different and , I dunno, maybe better. I need to spend sometime on their site “getting to know them” before I bombard you with questions; for now, THANKS, mon!!!  Wow…

Rock around the world

This from ‘Rock Around The World’

“Am 21. Mai erscheint der Nachfolger zum Album *The Invitation*, welcher mir schon damals meine Kopfhaare in Flammen setzte und beim Hören von *Leave Me Alone* und *Lunatics and Liars* war ich komplett im Flammenmeer versunken.

The rockin’ tunes makes heads bob and nipples tingle.

Der Name des neuen Longplayer ist *Desperation Blues*. Daraus gibt’s auch schon mal den Clip zum Song *Please* zu hören und sehen. Wer auf Grand Magus und/oder Clutch steht ist goldrichtig. Must have. Preordern kann man das gute Stück auf der Bandcamp-Seite für 9$.”

Translated from German to English using Google Translate, this reads as follows:

“On 21 Published May the successor to the Album *The Invitation*, which to me at that time my head and put hair on fire while listening to * Leave Me Alone * and * Lunatics and Liars * I was completely immersed in the sea of flames. 

The rockin’ tunes makes heads bob and nipples tingle.
  

The name of the new album * is * Desperation Blues. Hence there’s sometimes even the clip to hear the song * Please * and see. If you like Grand Magus and / or clutch is absolutely right. Must have. Preordern can be a good piece on the Bandcamp page for $ 9.”

–Google Translate has it’s limitations, but we get the idea. Thanks to ‘Rock Around The World’ for the kind words!