SYL Lite

Album number three from Zimmers Hole comes seven years after their last release 'Legion Of Flames'. With three out of the four members being Devin Townsend's band mates in Strapping Young Lad, and considering their schedule of the past few years, it's easy to see why there had been such a hiatus. My first memory of Zimmers Hole was in concert when vocalist 'The Heathen' came on stage with the arse cut out of his pants. Apart from the bottomless trousers, he sported red body paint and a pair of horns protruding from his head. He was the devil, for that night at least, and the band ran through their own brand of tongue-in-cheek thrash metal.

Zimmers Hole don't take themselves seriously which is always a double edged sword. Either metal fans will 'get it' or they won't. In one metal magazine the reviewer obviously didn't understand what 'When you were shouting at the devil…' was all about. For those who don't like bands pissing about and would rather pass a kidney stone than hear a group of musicians having a little fun, then this album will not be for you. Amongst the metal there is maniacal laughter, horse braying, breaking wind and harmonica playing. As well as this crazy shenanigans the lyrics are truly awful, but for a band who have their tongues firmly in their cheeks are they anymore daft than those of battle metal bands, hardcore bands and emo whiners?

What I would say about this release is that, apart from it's cartoonish tendencies, it is a very credible release. The influence of Strapping Young Lad is evident in strong portions, hell, the producer is the great Devin himself. In certain areas you would be forgiven into thinking that it was SYL because the production and mix is huge, crisp and heavy. The Heathen sounds very similar to Devin in the upper register and tracks such as the title tune, 'We Rule The Fucking Land' and '1312' could easily been at home on a new SYL record. I have to admit that I've played this album more than the last SYL album simply because the tunes are great and the spirit of SYL is very evident. The album suffers from a little too much messing around in the middle but it picks up for the fuel driven 'Alright' awashed as it is with fantastic motorbike samples.

Zimmers Hole have dug a 'hole' for themselves in the fact they can never be taken seriously. But this isn't a bad thing because metal can take itself too seriously sometimes. If you can find an album that can marry the cheese and the humour along with the aggression and intensity then it could become a treasured thing. 'When you were shouting at the devil…' could be that album. It's not brilliant, but I 'got it' and reaped the rewards. There isn't any right or wrong. The reviewer from that metal magazine isn't wrong he just listened to it differently. For those of us missing SYL then you may find some satisfaction here, and the many who like a laugh with their metal, but want great metal at the same time may find this album quite a treat.