ZL - Out Of Time

Zl - Out Of Time

9 songs
39:14 minutes
***** **
High Roller


With a name rhyming with Amon Dl (and I can’t think of any other band with two successive “”’s), you’d expect druggy psychedelia, but the primitive watercolour cover speaks a different language. Using skulls as heavy metal umlauts is probably the best way to tell people what to expect. Zl come from Illinois and took their name from the Ghostbusters movie, and after reading the info sheet, I got the impression that the quintet is not very ambitious when it comes to their career. They seemingly have no big aspirations and just play metal because they like it. Any why not, if it’s done as nicely as here?

After a seven inch vinyl record in 2008, Out Of Time is the debut longplayer by Zl, released in the USA on CD by the small indie label Planet Metal, while the German High Roller Records releases the vinyl version that comes with two bonus tracks – one of them a cover version of Badger’s Over The Wall – that should pad the album to well over forty minutes.

Zl play heavy metal from the good old times, and are clearly influenced by the NWOBHM, with probably the most obscure bands of that movement having left the biggest traces. Even the production comes with that warm feeling that this genre had in the late Seventies and early Eighties. What sets Zl apart from sounding overly European is their vocalist The Baron Batteau (love the pseudonyms!) whose singing style is clearly from the New World, and reminds me quite a lot of John Bush, giving the music a non-negligible Armored Saint touch.

The two guitarists make fullest advantage of their instruments, with lots of cool solos that never sound gratuitous. The only criticism that applies could be the fact that the band most of the time stays within a same upper mid-tempo pace, and while the listening experience in itself is not flawed, it’s really hard to make out any standout moments. But then this is only a debut, and a perfectly good one at that. Zl have the necessary skills and a good hand for a fitting production that should get Out Of Time on every old school heavy metal fan’s shopping list.

Back to Reviews