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Zimmers Hole - "When You Were Shouting At The Devil... We Were In League With Satan" (CD)

Zimmers Hole - "When You Were Shouting At The Devil... We Were In League With Satan" CD cover image

"When You Were Shouting At The Devil... We Were In League With Satan" track listing:

1. When You Were Shouting At The Devil... We Were In League With Satan (5:14)
2. We Rule The Fucking Land (3:50)
3. Flight Of The Knight Bat (2:41)
4. 1312 (2:53)
5. Devil's Mouth (3:18)
6. The Vowel Song (1:59)
7. Fista Corps (3:14)
8. Anonymous Esophagus (3:00)
9. Alright (3:11)
10. Hair Doesn't Grow On Tress (3:52)
11. What's My Name... Evil! (6:32)

Reviewed by on April 2, 2009

"Spend an evening with Zimmers Hole. Your funny bone will thank you for it, because seriously, how often do you get to listen to some really killer music AND laugh at it at the same time?"

Every once in a while, a band comes along that just gets stuck in your head. Zimmers Hole is one of these bands, and their first album on Century Media Records, “When You were Shouting At The Devil… We Were In League Satan,” has all the ingredients for an instant classic: stellar musicianship, solid hooks, interesting rhythmic changes and – first and foremost – an obvious passion and enjoyment of the music radiating from the musicians themselves, something that is apparent with both their recordings and concert performances.

While the Vancouver-based band’s live shows might not be for everyone, what with butt-bearing frontman Chris Valagao (aka Heathen) embracing copious amounts of red body paint, latex appendages and all sorts of, er, fluidous substances and, um, props, it’s impossible to deny just how good the Canadian band's latest offering really is.

The title track introduces the album, starting with a whisper, but growing louder and more bass-ridden until reaching maximum volume. Heathen then creeps in with a slow but rising power metal scale, sounding almost like a warm up of what he's getting ready to bring up. What follows is an hilarious exploration of classic thrash, with elements of death, speed and power metal, running wild amidst a sarcastic and paradoxical vocal illustration of heavy metal and its stereotypes.

Just looking at the song titles, you can tell just how not seriously these guys take themselves. They poke fun at society’s stereotype of what a metalhead is, what metal music stands for, who thinks they’re more metal and why, what’s not “metal” and what it means to be “metal.” Nothing is safe. Not even your esophagus.

That’s not to say that they’ve sacrificed quality for the sake of amusement. This is metal at some of its finest. The fact that the topics are funny, ironic and downright witty is secondary, topped by intense percussion, crushing bass rhythms, the catchy guitar licks of guitarist Jed Simon, and, of course, the relentless energy of Heathen, who is just at home issuing forth the lowest or rumbling death-style growls, or operatically bellowing a high note that even Maria Callas would be envious of.

A cameo by fictional Dethklok frontman Nathan Explosion, of TV's “Metalocalyse,” on “The Vowel Song” is an amusing addition to the album, though not all that surprising given The Hole's many affiliations with the animated death metal band. Drummer Gene Hoglan is the heavy hitter behind Pickles' drum sticks, while bassist Byron Stroud occasionally fills in on Dethklok's live tours for William Murderface double Brian Beller. Cinnamon buns.

So not only can you headbang your brains out, you’ll actually want to listen to what Heathen has to say. It’ll drive you to think about your own ideas, what you think is “metal” and what’s not, and that overall, it doesn’t really matter what is or isn't. What matters is finding something you’re passionate about, something you love, and embracing it.

Spend an evening with Zimmers Hole. Your funny bone will thank you for it, because seriously, how often do you get to listen to some really killer music AND laugh at it at the same time?

Highs: The energy on the album feels just like the band is playing in the same room with you.

Lows: The Hole aren't the first to parody metal – Gwar comes to mind right off the bat – but they’re one of the better acts out there that do.

Bottom line: The hooks are endless and the topic matters are deviantly delightful.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)