Label: HeadFirst Ent. 2011
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Dodgy moniker, check! R-e-a-l-l-y dodgy artcover, check! dodgy metal music? Czech...o-slovakia? Nope, they're actually from Las Vegas, U.S. of A, and bandleader/vocalist Kirk Hulshoff had once a project called Legacy together with Martin 'Swede' Andersson from the band Lizzy Borden. Aside from having one of the lamest, if not the most horrific names in the current metal scene, ZombieShakerBox have a completely different agenda when it comes down to their music.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT expect to find any 'Zombie' lyric nor dodgy outfits on this platter. The band's clearly not the next GWAR and in fact, I'd go as far as saying, the name and artcover, not to their advantage in any music related situation whatsoever really. Lyric-wise, "Encrypted", speak mostly about modern day urban issues and topics: the usual drug addict and their innocent victims aka loved ones. Their music is basically one equal third each of metal music from the 80s, 90s and 00s. Some kind of hybrid zombie monster and you can pick up influences from the likes of Alice In Chains, Cinderella, and Hinder.
Original? ground-breaking? fresh? hardly - the opening two tracks (Welcome To My Rave, Blow N Smoke) sound exactly like any other post-grunge act in the past 15 year. Vocals and melodies in the style of Layne Stanley and AIC, a tight rhythm section and a rather wicked groove but sadly no real hooks. The excellent power ballad, "Tigerlilly", featuring lyrics about Hulshoff's daughter Alexa, sits firmly inbetween the sound of Cinderella and Hinder. The same goes for "Answer To No One" by the way and extra kudos for the old skool guitar work and solo by Jami Lin (by the way, R.I.P. Jani Lane today), especially since it's a nice change from the 'non-existent' style of the modern day six-string bender. It's overall a nicely crafted album with a professional sound and musicians. I'm afraid their name and artcover might just scare away quite a lot of potential fans though [say what? no Czecko-Slovakia? what about the Soviet-Union then???].