Tuesday, October 4, 2016

remembering Znöwhite, part 1

Today I want to tell you about a band from the past whose music gets regular rotation from me.
Znöwhite began in the early 1980s in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Znöwhite's early music is tight, compact, sharp thrashing riffs by a band obsessed with playing as fast as possible. Their speed metal seems to have to taken the fast songs of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and turned up the speed and energy to full-on mode.
The band was formed by the metal blood brothers Greg ("Ian Tafoya") and Tony Fulton ("Sparks Tafoya"), with Greg on guitars and Tony on drums. The bassist was none other than their own cousin Curtis ("Nicky Tafoya"), making the band a metal family. The band was fronted by Nicole Lee, who was a school friend of Greg's. Below is an early picture of the band.
After a demo in 1983 and another demo in 1984, in 1984 their debut EP was released. It was called All Hail to Thee. The line-up for the EP was, according to Metal Archives: Ian Tafoya on guitars and bass; Sparks Tafoya on drums; Nicole Lee on vocals. Below you will find the track list and a link to get a taste of the music.
Anyway, today I just want to focus on the EP because I have heard this thing so many times that we might as well begin there. It is a quick recording that gets to the point of fast heavy metal in the form of speed metal and stays that way, and only makes one pause (more about that in a second). Who knows what possessed them to come up with these fast tunes, but headbanging is the only thing to do here. The riffs are flying everywhere and if you space out, you're going to miss them because this band is not messing around. Play fast and stay fast and the riffs and solos jump out of the box. There is an undeniable charm to the music, including the fact that drummer plays fast and is doing a bunch of little things with the cymbals that take a few listens to understand because everything is going so fast that the details become comprehensible later on. Before the coming of blast beats and grind, this is pretty much as fast as thrash and speed metal got, and it's still sounds fast today. The lady beast herself Nicole Lee somehow makes the songs sound a bit melodic, which is hard because when you have to keep up with those guitar riffs going at that speed, you would think that any vocalist would be out of breath just screaming and trying to keep up. Finally, there is bit of a break in the speed in the form of the song "Never Felt Like This," which is where the band shows that they have another dimension that they can use, but they don't want to do it too much because they are still hell bent on playing fast as much as possible.
Alright, well, listen the track "Something' for Nothin'" below and bang your head!
All Hail to Thee (1984)
1.Sledgehammer 01:54
2.Saturday Night 01:44
3.Somethin' for Nothin' 02:34
4.Bringin' the Hammer Down 02:44
5.Do or Die 01:37
6.Never Felt Like This 03:48
7.Rock City Destination 02:38
total time 16:59
ZnöWhite - Somethin' For Nothin' (1984)
by MMB

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