I’m going to preface this review with the obvious. I opted to dive into the debut self-titled album from the NY/NY thrashers known as Zamboni for one reason… it’s time for playoff hockey. A simplistic mentality? You betcha. But I’m excited for the games to unfold tonight and I will do my damnedest to keep the focus over the next couple hundred words on this quick-hitter of a thrashy punk album. But I can promise that won’t prove easy with puck drop for game one of the Wings/Bolts series less than 24 hours away. Anyway, I digress. Let’s see what the (self-labeled) “worst band ever to attempt any form of music” has for us.
Nine tracks covering 22 minutes. This won’t take you long to get through. Each track is an upbeat barrage of crunchy riffage, unrelenting percussion provided by whatever drum machine Zamboni tends to go with for recording and live performances, and some rather solid booming thrash metal singing. I mean come on. Open this thing up and you already probably have an idea what you’re going to get. The self-loathing (more from the bio: “no band is more awful than the dreaded Zamboni”) rockers are really just here to get in, kick an ass or two — apathetically — and then get the fuck out of dodge. And that’s totally fine by me. And despite the fact that there really isn’t a ton to take away from this overall, there are still some fairly solid moments contained with this… efficient runtime.
After a spoken entry that serves a purpose I guess, we get into “The Greater Evil” which introduces us to the wildly mediocre production that went into this album. Everything sounds hollow and rather jagged. But if it sounded better that would completely miss the point. That point being apathy and self-loathing. The songs are short, so in turn some of them are obviously catchy, especially the choruses. No, the vocal or instrumental phrasing don’t experiment much (the word I’m looking for is ‘repetitive’) all told, but they can still be undoubtedly fun. Which is what a thrash/punk crossover should be all about anyway. Hell, there are even some brief tasty solos that come through quite clearly. Zamboni do manage to work in some creativity in their longest songs, “Stick em” and “World War Z”, both of which ambitiously cross the three minute mark. Time changes, occasional complex rhythm patterns… oh man, it is all there. And then the whole thing closes with the title-track, which is… well, I’m sure you can figure it out.
Look. This thing isn’t great. And it isn’t even really about hockey which is tremendously disappointing. But if you want a casually produced thrashy blitz, this is everything you could have hoped for and more. It’s not to be taken seriously, the band thinks they suck, which makes this extremely easy to spin once and be done with it. So, if you have 22 minutes to kill, why not give Zamboni a listen? Or don’t. They probably won’t give a shit either way.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”