Seattle-based metal revival band Zero Down channels English rockers at Whiskey Dick’s
October 2, 2008
A metal band from Seattle channels English metal virtuosity and velocity and blends it with a jigger of revival hellfire from Tennessee.
“I think because of our sound, we usually get a good crossover because of young people who are discovering that sound … and older people who are reliving it,” said Zero Down guitarist Lenny Burnett, who traces his roots to Knoxville and his metal revival band’s to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead and Thin Lizzy in the ’70s and ’80s. “It’s pretty much been our love as far as the metal bands and the hard rock bands we grew up loving.”
“I think everything from that genre and even other genres are always an influence,” said Burnett, who compared his band’s twin-guitar attack with Adrian Smith and Dave Murray swapping leads in Iron Maiden. “I think me and Fred (Speakman) definitely have different styles when it comes to the lead playing.”
The rhythm section ” drummer Tyler Lindsley and Ronnie Banner on bass ” pushes the tempo, while Mark “Hawk” Hawkinson provides the lead vocals.
“I think a lot of it, too, we were all kind of in hardcore bands and pretty fast metal bands back in the day.”
At any rate, Zero Down sounds like the kind of metal band that can keep up with the Athiarchists and American Made Disaster, the two fast and furious punk bands opening Saturday, Oct. 4, at Whiskey Dick’s.
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“I think definitely we have that energy behind us rather than it being mid-tempo all the time,” Burnett said.
The band is touring in support its March release, three years after Zero Down debuted with “Old Time Revival.” “Good Times at the Gates of Hell,” marks an artistic high point for Zero Down in more than one sense: Ed Repka, who helped make Megadeth’s Vic Rattlehead mascot an icon, designed the cover. And with Martin “Sweet Wizard” Feveyear (producer for Queens of the Stone Age, among others) behind the board, it’s spawned live staples in “Firebird 76” and “Fistful Of Dynamite” in addition to the title track.
“I think that’s always, always the goal,” Burnett said. “I feel like there was a big move from the last record to this record as far as how we’ve developed this sound and playing together.”
While the new album, and the exposure from working with Feveyear and Repka, marked a high point for Zero Down, the band is still working to rise in the metal milleu, distributing its music through iTunes and CD Baby, as well as its own Web site. Saturday’s appearance at Whiskey Dick’s marks Zero Down’s first Tahoe show and its first Northern California tour.
“We’re pretty excited to get out of the Northwest and head down,” Burnett said. “I promise they’re going to have a good time, because the true essence of this band is all about the entertainment value, and it’s one of the things we don’t see in all the bands today is having all the energy and intensity out there but also having a good time.”
The openers sound like two bands that set a tough pace to follow.
The Athiarchists formed in 2005 in Oregon. Guitarist Aaron Tunnell and drummer Dano Lemm perform about 12-14 shows a month throughout their home state of Oregon and have toured the West Coast. The thrash-punk duo from Eugene prides itself on showing up at the last minute to fill in for another band and plays first or last on the bill without complaint, combining hardcore music with clear vocals and a clear message.
According to their Web site, the Athiarchists have shared the parking lot with Slipknot, Hatebreed, Type O Negative, Dragonforce, Disturbed and Mastodon, but credit as influences the Eugene Police Department, the government, organized religion and “other bands that have to act like they are so cool and can’t go on first.”
The South Shore’s own punk spawn, American Made Disaster, has been playing for about a year and a half. According to the band’s MySpace page, bassist Tim Shivers, vocalist Matt Meunier, guitarist Mario Mesa and drummer Ray Garcia have been recording since midsummer, and their debut album is due out this month.
“We work hard, we practice two or three nights a week every week, and we take it seriously,” Shivers told Lake Tahoe Action in May.
“We’re in it to win it, and we’re all really good friends, and I think we’re going to be around for quite a while,” Shivers said.