Zuul - Out of Time
Planet Metal
Traditional Heavy Metal
9 songs (39'14")
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I can’t pretend I live my life on the road going to every metal show that comes through my town (or its close surroundings, since nobody really comes to the town where I live), but I am sure you can relate to the feeling when you discover an unexpected gem at the live concert where you least expect it. You slowly stroll into The Most Raucous Spot in Town bar, load up on a few beers trying to save your hearing for the main act you are really there for. Then, somehow, the sound emanating from the stage starts capturing your interest. A gritty, do-it-yourself band, still with the garage attitude but full of skills, lays their heart out playing to the few who showed up early. Insert late 70s – early 80s NWOBHM with caution thrown to the wind and you have Zuul’s Out of Time.

Coming from Carbondale, Illinois, a single liberal University town spotted in the middle of the superconservative country, Zuul are signed to Planet Metal, the label which will seemingly sign anybody as long as their music applies a square fist in the face (Wastelander, Kommandant). Taking a “non-stop intensity” for their motto, Zuul provide nine tracks of great driving music, riffing it away in the style of early Maiden, Diamond Head and Tygers of Pan Tang, concerned mostly with the fact their next hook is more massive than their last. Twin guitars in the hands of Mike “The Butcher” Bushur and Hateful Jared are an epitome of heavy traditional metal, the one which can never grow old. Spiced up with rather novel little twists added onto leads (Backstreet Crawler), or coming up with bridges very reminiscent of Aces High (Executioner), Zuul’s guitar work will leave no old grizzly metal fan unaffected. This music has old school picture attached to it in encyclopedia. Perfect for driving on the highway atop a Harley, the album, if anything, is almost too even in its swaggering tempo, rarely pushing it to lightning speeds or really slowing it down. A few differentiating moments are provided when stiff chugging riff of Warhammer and the song’s harmonizing lead make it sound anthemic and assertive, while malicious derisive thrash beat of Darkness on the Ice is so painfully in your face.

The weakest portion of Zuul in my own humble opinion is the vocals of The Baron Batteau. Short on range, and a little nasal, he struggles to keep up with the rest of Zuul hookery. If anything, his delivery makes the band sound a little stoner rock, and that is not the direction I can see Zuul coming from. A stronger higher pitched voice would have been a cherry on top in this heavy metal sundae.

A little bit of Slough Feg or the first Pharaoh album in them, I wanted to dedicate this album to my friend LBF out of Sudbury, Canada. For years he told me Tygers of Pan Tang and Picture are a worthy listen. Now I have a modern days recommendation to send right back to him. So full of youthful zeal and fervor, it is almost over the top, Zuul’s Out of Time can sure hit it close to some old man’s heart.

Killing Songs :
Out of Time, Executioner, Warhammer, Backstreet Crawler, Return to Yagi
Alex quoted 79 / 100
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