Sabertooth Zombie - Human Performance IV [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Sabertooth Zombie

Human Performance IV [EP] (2015)

Twelve Gauge Records

Sabertooth Zombie come from the Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park, California scene that spawned great acts like Life Long Tragedy and Ceremony. In fact, Sabertooth Zombie are comprised of a few members of the long-extinct and criminally underrated Life Long Tragedy. But, more to the point, Sabertooth Zombie reflect the experimental sound that emanates from this Northern California community. Blending equal parts of hardcore, Southern rock and stoner metal, Sabertooth Zombie offer up a captivating EP in Human Performance IV.

From the opening riff of “The Headache,” the listener is exposed to a discordant sound that is driven by gloomy guitarwork and assertive vocals. As the opening track, the song is a solid representation of what to expect from the EP as a whole: a layered arrangement of music that sprinkles harmonies beneath vocals that walk the line between shouted and screamed. Coincidentally, I felt an immediate comparison to Baroness vocally. The guitar solos in the song bring out the band’s admittedly Southern rock influence, and yet it doesn’t at all seem forced. In fact, the solo lulls the listener into a false sense of ease only to break into a dark and broody conclusion to the song.

For me, the best track on Human Performance IV is “Gardens of Loss.” The driving pace of the song overall, the creepy guitar work that lurks just beneath the vocals, and the seamless way the band blends these aspects together make “Gardens of Loss” a convincingly catchy song. The EP’s aptly titled final track, “Crazy Endings,” tends toward the stoner rock influence from the start. The quirky guitar leads that open the song work well, even as the vocals take focus. And in the background of all the music on Human Performance IV is the reflection of the band’s hometown scene. They, like their peers in Ceremony and Trash Talk, create music that spans a variety of genres without sounding contrived or disingenuous in any way.

Sabertooth Zombie have laid down another strong release in their consistently expanding catalogue. You would do well to pick this EP up if you appreciate hardcore punk that takes chances and experiments with different varieties of influence. Very well done indeed.