Californias most intriguing current hardcore outfit, Sabertooth Zombie, returns with their latest full-length effort. Since theyve last released Midnight Venom in 2006, the group has released a dual-EP 10 and a 7 EP as well as re-recording and re-compiling a few recordings for CD releases. Needless to say, Sabertooth Zombie has kept themselves busy. And You Fathers are Dead in the Ground brings forth eighteen brand new songs at just under fifty-minutes.
Sabertooth Zombie pick up where they left off on their last offering, the 7 EP Dent Face. The group continues to mesh influences from a variety of styles - punk, hardcore, thrash, and stoner metal - to form their own niche within the hardcore world. Guide Me leads off and immediately we get the mixture of styles. The opening riffs are haunted by Sabbath-esque influence. The song eventually moves towards a more hardcore punk direction with a quickened pace thanks to the upbeat rhythm section and scorching riffs; even later on there is a wicked guitar solo that recalls the classic Bay Area thrash scene.
Throughout the entirety of And Your Fathers are Dead in the Ground Sabertooth Zombie experiment with different sounds, further expanding their reach beyond the limitedness of hardcore punk. On Grim & Hopeless we get an interesting placement of acoustic guitars with campfire sing-along vocals. Lonely Town boasts a slow dirge breakdown and heavy riffing with classic metal influence; partnered with vocalist Cody Sullivans deep-throated screams this song is an absolute delight. And I absolutely love the line you cant eat applause for breakfast.
There is pretty much something for everyone here. While the groups sound is heavily rooted in the classic hardcore punk sound, they find a way to incorporate these varying styles into their sound without sounding too disjointed. Grave Digger has a classic thrash vibe to it while Body Turned Transmitter features a psychedelic metal influence akin to Sleep.
Perhaps the standout song is the track Grim and Hapless. The first half is down-tuned mid-tempo punk cut with a rawness and grittiness to it. A lot of this is due to the vintage recording approach the band has taken with this recording. The second half picks up the pace and chugs along with an intensity and fury of thrashers like Anthrax.
Also of note is the lyrical prowess of Sullivan. While on previous efforts his focus has primarily been of a political nature, he shifts his focus towards the sociological and personal-examination. There are still political rants, but they are limited. One excerpt I quite enjoyed is the following taken from Voice on Tape:
This world holds you back / The dirt fills your shoes / The crust of the earth / Is made of malice and pain.
The album concludes with Like a Shadow; Like Shackles, a ten-minute drowned out feedback-laden lament over repetitive churning riffs. This song recycles itself over as the song unfolds, eventually deconstructing itself until just feedback remains. Ultimately a sample from late comic Bill Hicks is layered over the top, his satirical take on life reflects the music of Sabertooth Zombie perfectly.
With And Your Fathers are Dead in the Ground, Sabertooth Zombie continue to cement their position as one of the most varied and unique hardcore bands. If youre one of those individuals complaining that all hardcore sounds the same, then checking out this album - or Sabertooth Zombies entire discography - is what you need to get out of that rut.
8.0 / 10
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