Züül – Out of Time
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Züül style themselves after the classics, but they don’t front. The pitfall of “retro” metal is that it’s fashion-obsessed. Subgenres are either slavishly rehashed or cleansed of warts, resulting in music as fun and pointless as a Nerf ball. Züül understand that NWOBHM wasn’t just about catchiness. The music was passionate and didn’t want social approval. Instead of acting cool, it balled adolescence into a fist and made heartfelt songs about sex and science fiction indiscriminately. Ugliness was part of the program.
Out of Time (Planet Metal, 2010) bulls forward, mixing the likes of Diamond Head or Angel Witch with punk. “Warhammer” drives uplifting solos over minor key riffs. When Brett Batteau howls, there is no hope, but there is dignity in fate: “Bang goes the hammer / Burn molten steel / Life taking shape / Into something that’s real”. “Backstreet Crawler” seethes with lust, while “Darkness on the Ice” and “Return to Yagi” evoke a lusher version of The Misfits circa Earth A.D. This music needs to be meant, and Züül more than mean it. They tear it from their guts and hurl it with bravado, snot, and piss. It’s nothing new, but it never gets old.