Zen Guerrilla

Trance States in Tongues

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Trance Slates in Tongues, Zen Guerrilla's first album on Sub Pop, is loaded with concussive, thundering blues-rock, and ultra-distorted vocals that are filtered through a medium that is half megaphone, half electronic-phase pedal. Many tracks kick to life with what sounds like a string of Black Cat firecrackers exploding. In fact, Trance can be understood as one large firecracker that explodes for 40-minutes, such is the record's intensity, power, and hypnotic drive. The band's guitar riffs aren't anything new, as the sonic signatures of AC/DC, Soundgarden, and Monster Magnet are all heard on Trance, but the manner in which vocalist Marcus Durant's maniacal vocals body surf on the biggest Led Zeppelin riffs make the band sound fresh, hungry, and urgent. Though the pace of the crack-riddled music does not slow down until the last two tracks, Zen Guerrilla's passion, blues sensibility, and bombastic funk make up for any staleness. "Preacher's Promise" has a call-and-shout gospel tinge, while "Peppermint" has a sped-up rockabilly tinge that recalls early Reverend Horton Heat records. Bits of soul, sci-fi fantasies, gigantic riffs, time-delay vocals, looming harmonica wails, and tidal waves of rhythm all combine and make for one very, very loud and havoc-wrecking package. If you are not bothered by faster-than-fast tempos, Trance is a near-perfect blend of blues-rock and post-punk metal.

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