"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Zombie Fighter - "Run For Your Life" (CD/EP)

Zombie Fighter - "Run For Your Life" CD/EP cover image

"Run For Your Life" track listing:

1. Unleash The Wolves
2. Skull Fucker
3. Beloth
4. Carnivore

Reviewed by on June 3, 2012

"A thoroughly enjoyable listen that signals vast potential for future recordings."

Zombie Fighter’s outright aping of Skeletonwitch, right down to the blood-chilling rasp Chance Garnette has made his vocal trademark, would earn them a smarting wrist slap from most American metal fans were it not for their musical mastery, put into perspective by their fragile youth. Upstart bands a mere two years old are not supposed to sound this tight or catchy when playing high-speed melodic thrash, and yet “Run For Your Life” sees these New Hampshire kids in complete command of their instruments and naturally gifted with the art of riffs and hooks (courtesy of guitarists Will Abdelnour and Nick Timney).

On the one hand, the Skeletonwitch influence cannot be overstated. Each of these four tracks would fit snugly onto “Forever Abomination” without leaving anyone the wiser. But that’s not a very fair criticism of a new band still on the milk of its inspiration, and here’s the other hand: Zombie Fighter rises to the challenge and equals the caliber of Skeletonwitch. These are not throwaway cuts; there’s some serious meat in here. “Carnivore” is the finest track, with a genuinely memorable lead riff and soloing, spot-on harmonizing, and a natural ebb and flow of tempo, all underpinned by Justin Elbourn’s distinct and audible bass lines. Much of the same goes for the rest, particularly the galloping “Skull Fucker,” (I’d love to see that put to music video) which contains rhythm guitars sharp enough to use in open-heart surgery and a nifty midpoint break that lets drummer Graham Fortier shine – just enough to remind you he’s there. This speaks to the smoothness of the performances, in which everyone plays and sings at full tilt without blowing his wad in a fit of show-offy histrionics.

“Run For Your Life” was produced to crisp precision by Brian Westbrook, drummer of Western Massachusetts favorite Lich King. And while derivative, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen that signals vast potential for future recordings, when Zombie Fighter hopefully comes into its own. For now, fans of the aforementioned Skeletonwitch, classic black/thrash in the Sodom vein, or any blend of aggression and melody could do worse than check them out.

Highs: Finely honed chops all around, and the songwriting gifts to go with them, make for four killer tracks with zero filler.

Lows: You've heard this before, last year, on Skeletonwitch's latest, "Forever Abomination."

Bottom line: Young New England thrashers cutting their teeth on the speed, harmonics, and darkness of Skeletonwitch - and creating surprisingly memorable tunes in the process.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)