Sabertooth Zombie - ...And Your Fathers Are Dead in the Ground. (Cover Artwork)

Sabertooth Zombie

...And Your Fathers Are Dead in the Ground. (2009)

Twelve Gauge

Very few bands just do whatever they feel like. Most try to fit into a pre-conceived notion of a genre or sculpt their music to their perceived notions of what people will like. Even in fringe genres like hardcore, there is a great deal of aping for spotlight with bands picking up on the style of the week. This week it's cool to play NY-style heavy hardcore. Two years ago, it was sounding like Modern Life Is War. Last week, it was having a deranged frontman. Next week it could be cool to use dissonant chords again. Who knows?

That said, it's sometimes fairly difficult for bands that are thoroughly individualistic to make an impression and build a following, but Sabertooth Zombie's flair for matching originality with something listenable is to their credit and probably the deserving source of their current hype. Your Fathers Are Dead in the Ground builds off the foundation of their previous releases, especially last year's Dent Face 7", mixing Sabbath- styled riffery and fast-paced punk rock bursts. Blended in are flashes of `80s rock and some Motörhead-esque rock 'n' roll. As I said in a previous review, they take their cues from `80s crossover hardcore, but there are no rules and anything is expected.

While the band is always good with interesting music behind him, the standout aspect of this band is the vocalist, Cody (last name?) whose shouty stream-of-consciousness rants on actually interesting topics like religion and politics are strikingly original and thought-provoking. Sometimes you can tell what he's talking about, sometimes it could be anything, but it never has the feeling of just words on paper (unlike. say, most mainstream nineties bands, like Bush). Take "Old Fools": "He's a king, his castle protected. Intruders kept from cuts of wives. Wafer thin and bulging with sex. Fences with wire and cameras like eyes. One nation under god, in the land of nod." In "Apples," he sarcastically cuts down religion by repeating just four words: "Dead deity, deliver me." The lyrics usually have the ability to be intense and graphic, intelligent, and often kind of funny at the same time, a mix you don't see too often.

While this band has been extremely prolific, having at least two releases a year since their inception (and not touring all that much), my only complaint with this record is its length. Of the 18 tracks on here, there's a few I would have left off and I think the album would be more cohesive as a result. However, I wouldn't really expect this band to trim its artistic output for the modern short attention span.

Regardless of what genres you usually stick to or if you are even interested in "hardcore" at all, or if you're into punk rock or generally leftist, this is definitely a band worth checking out.