The world’s future is bleak. In just under 2,000 years, when highly evolved Apes have replaced humans as the big dogs, the world will be on it’s last legs.
How do I know this?
Beacuse I listen to Reign of Zaius and they are here to warn us.
They proclaim to be renegade Ape scientists who have travelled back from the almost destroyed Earth to warn us of the horrors and doom we are leading ourselves into.
Well that was the plan, until a spliff was smoked. Then they ascended into the world of fuzzy stoner rock and instead geeked out on horror, comics and video games. And this is what we’re left with.
Our future is fucking doomed, and it’s their fault. Luckily they play some good shit, so I’m already over it.
Reign of Zaius released their EP, Planet Of… on 13 August. It is brimming with sci-fi, horror references, such as all out stomper Deliver Me, that starts with that epic sequence played by the banjo boy in Deliverance.
Davis Zaius (Bass): “There’s been a general pop-culture theme to the band, going back to its very name. Most of our songs focus in some way on comic books, video games, sci-fi, fantasy, and of course horror. Just like the best sci-fi or horror movies, we like to touch on big, serious themes but keep them cloaked in something a little more light hearted.”
Gorilla Monsoon (Drums): “If you’re into heavy, dark music odds are you’re probably drawn to the same type of things in TV, cinema, or literature. Personally, I like the challenge of taking something perceived as vile or chilling and making it not just palatable, but catchy. “Farewell to Arms” (our tribute to Evil Dead 2) has a four-on-the-floor dance bridge in the interest of seeing how to make chants of “Dead By Dawn” and “I’ll Swallow Your Soul” work as hooks. ”
There is a plethora of catchy hooks and tracks on this EP but they also show off a great range of styles, incorporating aspects of thrash, hard rock, heavy metal into their Stoner Rock cauldron, which makes them stand out as original.
Phantom Cosmonaut (Guitar): “One of the real strengths of this band is that everyone is coming from a slightly different direction, style-wise. That makes the end result something unique and usually difficult to categorise.”
Davis Zaius: “We come at a song in terms of what feels right for everyone in the band, and what we think will move the crowd at a live show. We often try to make the unusual or unexpected choice, especially where the rhythm section is concerned, without delving too far into self-indulgent prog rock. A song can be complicated, but it’s got to stay groovy.”
Leon “Space” Chase (Vocals): “So, most of what you hear is the unconscious product of five different people’s tastes and tones smashing into each other, and just seeing what sticks.”
Imagine if you will, a stoner rock band with triple threat vocals of Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie and Dave Mustaine! Catchy opening track Hate Parade made me think of this very scenario and it works well. I asked the band members where their vocal influences come from, comparing the performance to a couple of these artists, and it’s a wide and varied set of singers.
Leon “Space” Chase: “While neither of those was my intention, I’ll take them both as a huge compliment. I would add Arthur Brown (Uk 60’s pop star), Rob Tyner (MC5)”.
Davis Zaius: “Mike Patton!” (Faith No More)
Leon “Space” Chase: “Also, Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), and of course Ozzy”.
Orcs of the Nevermead sounds like a track that could have been written by the aforementioned Dave Mustaine for Megadeth back in the days where he may not have taken him self so seriously. Full of thrashy intent but not quite heavy enough to be thrash, I’d think it’d be a crowd pleaser live.
Tracks like Out to Get Mine and Power Hitter give bassist Davis Zaius a nice stage to show his creativity and ability to create interesting sounds. Out To Get Mine starts with a distorted bass and a dirty ground out guitar riff. It opens up nicely into more catchy riffs, nice solos and good breakdowns. Powerhitter has some effective effects on the bass in parts. It is also a 100% party track which closes the EP on a high note.
Reign of Zaius also give a nice sonic nod to the bringers of doom, Sabbath, in They Live and Farewell To Arms. They Live also has a hint of punk in the chorus and Dead by Dawn is blessed with a splattering if classic metal and opens with the classic line from the film of the same name, “I came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, but I’m all out of bubblegum”. Upon hearing this my 3 year old immediately stated she wanted to go to wherever “here” is because it sounds fun. I checked with the guys but I think I’ll be keeping her away for now!
Gorilla Monsoon: “I dunno, a busy bank with aliens and a shotgun-brandishing Roddy Piper might get a little dicey, but you’re the parent so that’s entirely at your discretion.”
Leon “Space” Chase: “Still, I think that the average 3-year-old is probably very in tune with what we do.”
Davis Zaius: “Quite.”
There is a lot on show with this band. The EP captures a very authentic live feel. If there was spoken pieces in between each track from members of the band (I’d like to imagine some comical warning against some flesh eating cyber virus due to bit us in the year 2134) I may have thought at times it was recorded at a gig.
Creepy Mo (Guitar): “Our goal was to get a quick-and-dirty recording that showcases what we actually sound like together in a live room”.
It is safe to say the goal was achieved successfully.
Take away the brilliant back story and good time vibe though and Reign of Zaius treat us too some real catchy hooks, an interesting and varied vocal and an occasional understanding from the guitarists that they can build some interesting layers of sound by going their own way. Finally I get a real punk ethos feel from the whole project, from the rough and ready sound to some of the delivery.
Who Are You and Where Do You Come From?
Reign of Zaius settled in Brooklyn New York after their arduous journey back through time. I tried to finally ask them if this was the epicentre of some important future event, but they told me to shut the fuck up because they were watching Ash Vs Evil Dead.
Leon “Space” Chase on vocals,
Davis Zaius on bass,
Vlad the Inhaler (AKA Phantom Cosmonaut) and Creepy Mo on guitars and
Gorilla Monsoon on drums.
If you want to hear their music go here and get the EP.
If you want to follow them and have a laugh (they post some great stuff) check out Facebook and Twitter.
Writer: Jonny Radley