"The City of Sun"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The Southern Wisconsin area is becoming one of the most fertile and productive as far as new and interesting metal bands are concerned. Milwaukee, Madison and the surrounding communities are really starting to make their mark nationwide...and Zebras is one of the most exciting bands I've heard from this area.

This dark and harsh band delivers a unique blend of sonic alchemy. The sound is a mixture of early Slayer riffs with both modern and classic hardcore elements. Think of The Cro-Mags colliding with Converge. One of the more unusual aspects of Zebras is that the band is bassless...the bass sound is essentially filled by analog synthesizers. The warm synth lurks in the background of the raging guitar, but on occasion, such as "Baalbek" and "Vitrified", it becomes more pronounced. There's a feeling of tremendous unease and forward movement in the music. The drumming is relentlessly simple and direct, never missing a beat. It propels every song straight ahead.  Add the screaming hardcore vocals of Vince Presley and the tension is palpable.

This album kills right out of the gate with "Hollow Earth"...awesome thrash riffs mix with that ominous feeling of dread. The songs follow a very similar flow but never bore you. I would add "The Garden", "Solomon" and "Filled With Fire" as the cream of the crop.

Zebras also seems to be a band of ideas. The cover suggests plenty of mystical symbolism and the lyrics seem to be virtual incantations. There's something extremely potent going on here, something classic yet fresh and very, very dangerous.