From the very opening of “Trouble In Eden,” San Jose’s stoner-rock quartet Zed picks up where they left off with their 2013 release “Desperation Blues”. However, this is no copycat job. The South Bay hard rockers have pensively expanded their sound to encompass a broader, more nostalgic feel. Prog-rock, proto-metal and even grunge lurk in the corners of “Eden”; and Zed gladly ushers their listeners through a brutally mesmerizing wall-of-sound effort.
The opening track, “Royale,” quickly establishes Zed’s traditional hard rock ethos, featuring a quick-paced, riff-based chart. Things look like hard-rock-business as usual, until the track’s Faith No More-esque breakdown. The song ends with a wah-wah drenched outtro which foreshadows the rest of the album, including “Save You From Yourself,” the record’s first single.
Moving on, the funk-ensconced track “The Only True Thing” bares a loose resemblance to an early-90s Red Hot Chili Peppers, or even Alice In Chains’ “Dirt.” “Today Not Tomorrow” continues on that theme, with a tremolo-style breakdown and a psychedelic interlude that is as much MC5 as it is Motorhead.
The album’s title track holds down a snarled-lip brutality, supported by its slow-burn insidiousness. “Blood of the Fallen” follows in step with a melodic prog-rock flair, complete with a bit of guitar shredding just to drive the point home. “High Indeed” starts with a frantic riff, only to switch up tempos in a “Fairies Wear Boots” (Black Sabbath) fashion. The porch-stomp, Southwestern-infused “So Low” drives at its listener like a Mac truck; while “Across the Sea” continues on a hard funk tip with incessantly textured riffage accentuating the track. “The Mountain” closes the set with an introspective, psychedelic seven-minute-plus epic.
And so goes “Trouble in Eden.” Throughout it all, Zed pushes the boundaries of style while remaining in the good graces of the Rock Gods—proving that stoner rock needn’t be so formulaic. In Zed’s world, evolution of sound is key. And it’s an ethos that serves the South Bay troupe well, elevating them to the status of one of the region’s best rock acts.
“Trouble in Eden” will be out on August 19th. Follow the link below for more details.
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