ZEX - Execute

Zex - Execute

11 songs
29:16 minutes
***** ****


Many bands dream of making it big one day, and then there is underground metal punk band Zex from Canada who two years ago released a split album with Beyoncé without even being aware of it. Due to a mistake in the manufacturing process, the A-side of their then recent album found itself on the flipside of a Beyoncé vinyl. Zex didn’t make any money of it, but got a lot of cool PR, and those few lucky people who own that vinyl either cherish its rarity or sell it for up to $1.000 on eBay.

But back to the present and the quartet’s third longplayer Execute. The album, consisting of an intro and ten concise proto punk metal songs, don’t even make it to half an hour, and that’s where part of the band’s charm lies. Spearheaded by guitarist and songwriter Jo Capitalicide and vocalist Gretchen Steel, it has to be said that the rhythm section as the other half of the band work in the most basic way possible. And again, that seems to be intended, as Zex’s stated goal is to create a punk / metal hybrid the way it would have been in the late Seventies before the advent of hardcore, crossover and thrash metal. As such, the songs on Execute sound like late Seventies / early Eighties punk rock mostly inspired by Misfits and the Ramones, with a more metallic guitar sound though, and Gretchen’s vocals sound like an angry Debby Harry that never flirted with the new wave sound.

The songs are all good fun, and at times the band is even totally great. Songs like the anthemic opener Moving On, the hyperventilated Tell Me, the dramatic Eternal Torment or the speed orgy Shot Down In Fire are some of the finest old school punk rock I have ever heard. In many ways, all of this sounds like a formal exercise with a what-if scenario, but the band acts punk enough to make it work. Guitarist Jo has recently also released an album with old school speed metal band Aphrodite that also totally blew me away. This guy is a true visionary right now, and his music deserves to be enjoyed by legions of vintage metal and punk music.

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