ゼ [Ze] Suck It Up 2012 Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
When it comes to imaginative music from exotic places, I’m always ready to discover new things and spend some time on obscure bands. This was the case when I stumbled over the traditional hard rock and heavy metal band ぜ (Ze). It’s a project of Canadian musician Pete Klassen, who has been the bassist of heavy metal outfit Sacred Ally, and is now also involved in the heavy metal band Stinger, both of which come from Calgary, Alberta. The innovative and talented musician is now involved in a more progressive and thrash-orientated heavy metal band called Skulldozer from Calgary, where he plays guitars and sings, as well as taking up vocal duties with another heavy metal band called Evil Survives out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
ぜ (Ze) is a project where Pete Klassen got the help from several band members of his other projects, as well as from a multitude of Japanese musicians. However, he always remains the creator and writer of the band, as well as its only truly permanent member. All in all, at least seventeen different musicians have already been involved in this Canadian-Japanese collaboration. Formed in 2008, the project released its first record entitled Suck It Up in 2012, and has since then published another EP before beginning work on a new release.
Suck It Up is an entertaining thirty-eight minute ride through the classic heavy metal genre with a strong retro touch of the eighties. The riffs are heavy and melodic, the bass guitar thumps with a lot of energy, and the slightly high-pitched vocals represent everything heavy metal is all about. Only the drumming sounds quite powerless, and is undoubtedly the record’s biggest flaw. The strength of the project is its ability to create catchy choruses and hooks right from the start, as one can hear in the opener “Afraid Of The Light”. The catchiest tune is easily “Thunder Calls My Name”, which sounds somewhat like an old school metal version of Bon Jovi’s legendary “You Give Love A Bad Name”. Another cool song is definitely the heavy closer that is sung by a guest singer (in Japanese) which features a few crazy lyrics. The song title can be translated to “I Want To Be Your Washcloth”.
Don’t expect any big surprises on this release, which varies from harder stuff like the title song “Suck It Up”, to slower and groovier tracks like “The One That I Want”. The acoustic interlude “Without You” could have been a great idea, but it’s too short and features no vocals. Any fan of fresh but traditional heavy metal could give this interesting experiment a few spins though, and should also try out Pete Klassen’s other projects.