Monday, September 17, 2012

Famous Last Words -- Cornered by Zombies

Figured I'd promote another Salt Lake City metal band, Cornered by Zombies, since I just posted about Visigoth. The two are very different brands of metal, but both quite fun. Cornered by Zombies is a nice two-piece act who play some nice and thrashy instrumental metal. My main praise has to go to the drummer, who is pretty remarkable. I saw these guys when they opened for Red Fang this summer and they put on an opening set that was even more impressive than what you hear on their EP, Famous Last Words. Their performance was pretty spot-on; they were totally in sync with each other and there really were no missteps that I could hear.

Unfortunately their bandcamp page only features two of the songs from their EP, but they're good songs, particularly "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose". My lurking suspicion, based on the guitarist's shrugging reactions during the show, is that the song names don't have much bearing on anything -- kinda like Mogwai has claimed about their own song titles. The names are just good, silly fun. The music is, too. But a different kind of silly; the kind that seems to just be part of heavy metal generally, and is the reason the genre is cool.

I feel like metal always has a lurking dash of humor about its own form, where it knows the who genre of metal is kind of ridiculous, but in a cool, sometimes even profound way. Some of the doom metal I've been listening to lately (Morgion, I'm thinking of you) would probably disagree with me on this point, but I hold to it right now. A little absurdity isn't any more wrong than a little melodrama, or a little bombast -- let's be honest, Led Zeppelin and Richard Wagner are kind of ridiculous, but they're still pretty sweet. Sometimes it's precisely this dash of overblown pomp that tips a band into brilliance. The Sisters of Mercy perhaps stand as my most fond example of this. Point being (and it's by no means a new point), metal's excesses aren't a good enough reason to dismiss it. Most great art is kind of ridiculous in some way, and that ridiculous element is often what makes it brilliant.

Give Cornered by Zombies a listen and see what you think. The songs are good. The whole EP is a quality effort from this young duo. How far they can take their two-person approach has yet to be seen, but for now I'd say they're doing just fine. A full-length album might start to reveal some repetition, but I'm hoping it wouldn't. I think these guys have the technical proficiency and I hope they have the creativity to carry their style forward for a while.

Be sure to admire the cover art for their EP, too -- it's pretty great, in an Army of Darkness way. And then think about just how great that band name really is. Cornered by Zombies. The zombies are everywhere, already, and the band is cornered by them, "because there's only two of us," joked the guitarist. No one wants to be cornered by zombies, but too often that's how it seems to be. Alas. The only solution is more heavy metal, so rock on!  

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