Review: Zombie Apocalypse – Life Without Pain Is A Fucking Fantasy

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Only the dead say they’re not scared.

Have you ever skipped out on seeing a band only to love them later on? At Hellfest 2004 (the American version) was full of some of the best and the most up-and-coming metal, metalcore, and hardcore bands of the time. Shadows Fall, Zao, Dillinger Escape Plan,  uhhh 25 Ta Life. Okay, it was a mixed bag, but with 4 stages going across three days, there was a lot to see. Unfortunately, that meant missing out on some performances that might have appealed. That meant I missed Zombie Apocalypse.

At the time, zombies were not the pop culture genre it has become. The Walking Dead television show was still years away. Being a huge Romero fan and a fan of zombie-related media in general, I was immediately interested in catching Zombie Apocalypse’s after seeing their name name on the schedule. If memory serves me correctly, they were even advertising a championship belt at their merch table to be given out to the best mosher during their set. Delightful! Sadly, it was not meant to be, but no big deal, I thought. It’s not like I even knew what they sounded like, I just enjoyed their name.

I, um, might have been watching It Dies Today instead…

One of the fun things about these types of shows, which has become a lost art-form, is getting all sorts of free samplers. Fast forward a month after Hellfest and I’m listening to the 2004 sampler from Indecision Records featuring Zombie Apocalypse’s song The Dead In Queue. I was immediately hooked on a band featuring members of Shai Hulud, Try.Fail.Try., Deadwater Drowning, The Risk Taken, and other bands from that era. Just as immediately mad at myself for missing a set I would have loved. After that, I needed everything this band put out, which sadly wasn’t much: an eleven and a half minute EP, an awesome split with the equally awesome Send More Paramedics, and….that’s it. There was also a cover of Welcome To The Jungle, but ehhhh that doesn’t really count. Hell, I even have vocalist Ronen Kauffman’s book. For fifteen years, that’s all I had to go on. A missed opportunity to see a band that put out less than a half-hour’s worth of music that I absolutely love. Until now.

Zombie Apocalypse’s new EP Life Without Pain Is A Fucking Fantasy picks up exactly where the band left off. Each song on this album is a fast, frantic blast of metallic hardcore that kills you five times before you even hit the floor. The anger, frustration, and internal turmoil is palpable with each riff, gang vocal, and breakdown. The band’s Crossover style that effortlessly blends the aggression of hardcore and with the razor-like precision of metal. There are even moments of genuine catchiness among all the broken bones and flesh-flecked teeth of the undead.

In keeping with tradition, each song features a sound clip, something that others may find tired, but I still love. It helps that the clips range from James Hetfield to Stephen Colbert to Fiddler On The Roof. These clips add a special bit of flare for songs that are so vicious and to-the-point. Also keeping with tradition is the EP’s short run-time. Only one song hits the three-minute mark, with most coming in at less than a minute and half. In all honesty, it will probably take you longer to read this review than to listen to the album in its entirety. Don’t sleep on the genuinely smart lyrics that range from clever to introspective and brutally honest. I don’t want to be greedy, but I would really love a full-length at some point.

Life Without Pain Is A Fucking Fantasy is a 10-punch combination to the mind and the body. This EP is everything I could have possibly wanted: pissed-off, manic, and out for delicious brains. It has been so long since Zombie Apocalypse’s last musical output that this style of music has become fresh and new once again. Fifteen years is a long wait to hear new material from a band you so thoroughly love. I am as happy as I am impressed that Zombie Apocalypse has made it worth the wait. Please, don’t make me wait another fifteen years. Oh, and maybe tour a little so I can finally correct my egregious error.

5/5 Toilets ov Hell

 

Life Without Pain Is A Fucking Fantasy is out on August 9th via Innerstrength Records.

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