The fact is this: I like unsigned bands. Even if I’m not 100 percent into the music, I appreciate that a group of people are willing to come together for a common artistic cause and execute a singular idea with little to no hope of fiscal recompense. So when I get a CD in gorgeous handmade packaging like Feed the Lie, the debut full-length by German post-metal outfit Zed (which lists Kopfhörer/Schalldruck as its label but still marks the band as unsigned, so I assume is a self-release imprint), which isn’t necessarily all that original but clearly shows that a lot of effort and love went into making it, I’m more than willing to give it extra points based on that.
Not that I have a point system.
It’s true, even the artwork on Feed the Lie could be called derivative — Isis’ Mosquito Control EP also having featured an insect splayed and ready for dissection — but the trio of Maik (guitar/vocals), Sven (bass/vocals) and Hannes (drums) are more derailed by their style being played out than by anything in particular they’re doing musically. Feed the Lie, on a basic musical level, rocks. It’s heavy, Sven’s bass tone more or less makes “Réalisme,” but even though Zed take a more rock-based approach to post-metal, it’s still post-metal at its heart. And man, if we haven’t all had enough of that.
So if I point to Isis and Neurosis as influences — Sven and Maik trading off vocals in a Through Silver in Blood Von Till/Kelly style — you’ll understand what I mean, but even if you are sick of the post-metal subgenre, don’t let that preclude you from digging into a song like “Om 352,” which is like Tool’s “Triad,” but with more crunch. That crunch, which I always want to attribute to Unsane, is a huge asset to the band’s sound, and comes at least in part because Feed the Lie was recorded live. There are some flourishes of stylistic individuality as well — I don’t wish to come off as saying Zed are ripping people off wholesale. These are definitely their own songs, it’s just easy to see where they come from stylistically, and with those points of inspiration being so common and relevant to the international heavy music scene right now, Zed wind up sounding like a lot of other bands you’ve probably already heard.
I’m not, however, going to say I didn’t like Feed the Lie, because I did. Most effective at its most aggressive, the album capably built atmospheres and proved that three dudes could capture a heaviness and tightness that usually takes five or six to harness. In a live studio setting, no less. The inventiveness of the packaging being an added incentive certainly doesn’t hurt the band either, and though I don’t imagine I’ll be back to the album for extensive repeat listening, I by no means regret having encountered Zed and hope that as the trio continues to delve into their processes, they’ll be able to discover who they are as artists and hone a sound entirely their own. Because that’s why we’re here.
Tags: Germany, Unsigned bands, Zed