Friday, June 8, 2007

Zen Guerrilla - Trance States In Tongues

Year: 1999
Genre: Noise Rock

Highlight Tracks: "Mod Riot", "Heart Attack", "Preacher's Promise"
Weak Tracks: N/A

As far as I know these guys are the best band to ever come out of the state of Delaware. Yeah, that's right, Delaware. Since when do kick ass rock bands come from Delaware? I mean, Delaware has got to be one of the most boring states in the union. Hell, they even joke about it in Wayne's World. Delaware is basically Pennsylvania's flaccid wang. The whole damn state is a narrow strip of flat farmland with a highway splitting it down the middle. Maybe this music was inspired by the mean streets of Wilmington, Delaware? I've been to Wilmington, the city is basically a bus station, a train station, and eighteen discount cigarette outlets. I can only guess that it was the very boring nature of their homeland that prompted Zen Guerrilla to form; with the mission of getting a record deal and getting the hell out of fucking Delaware. Or maybe it was to shake their sad little tax-free state out of the doldrums? This album could certainly do that.

Trance States in Tongues is a top to bottom rock and roll ass-kicker. This is a noisy, whiskey-soaked, dance on the table-tops party album. It sounds like an insane collision of late-60's garage punk, blues rock (the good kind), and stoner rock. Although I don't know that fans of any one of those genres would particularly enjoy it. This is a bizarre album that some folks will love from its first noisy 'lawn-mower' guitar ignition and others will resist to its final fade out.

If you stripped away all the album's weirdness it might sound fairly typical, but thankfully it is chock full of musical oddity that injects it with an irresistible charisma. The vocals howl at the moon through an array of effects that make it sound like they are echoing back to earth off of the cratered face of that celestial body. The singing never sounds like it is coming from inside the room, almost as if the lead singer is performing outside, drunk in the parking lot, while the band pound away indoors. The music is mixed really clean, even though the individual instruments are twanged, tuned and distorted to put a noisy spin on traditional rock song structure.

The collective sound Zen Guerrilla generates feels huge; like these guys should be rocking apart giant arenas. They go full-throttle on every track in a way that other noise rock bands often shy away from at times. Sometimes the production of other noise rock bands seems to acknowledge that the music is for a smaller audience. Not here. Even though I could never see Trance... appealing to a wide audience (its just too noisy and weird) the album rocks along completely oblivious to its obstacles. These guys just don't seem to give a damn about rock politics and they set out to cut an album for the ages. Which in my opinion they succeeded in doing. This album is one of my favorite rockers.

I just can't believe it came out of Delaware.


gretagrrl said...

Wow! You already made it through the alphabet once! Where was I?
Now, if only I could HEAR all this music.
Oh, HAHAHA, I can.

The Hangar Queen said...

That's done it.You are SO on the Wilmington Massive's shit list now.

"PA's flaccid wang" Heh!

See you Friday.

Palm Beach Flounder said...

I hate to call "Bullshit" on you, esp. 1 month late, but ....
1) George Thorogood and the DELAWARE Destroyers are from Delaware. Without listening to one note of Zen, it is self-evident that GT kicks their ass, and kicks the ass of every band to come from NJ and PA except Testament, Monster Magnet, and Overkill. Furthermore ...
2) PA and NJ are more like tumors growing out of the head of Delaware. Seriously, Glassboro or Brandywine Valley? Come on.

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