Album Review: Zebrahead – Brain Invaders (MFZB Records)

Zebrahead is vocalist/rapper Ali Tabatabaee, vocalist/guitarist Matty Lewis, bassist Ben Osmundson, drummer Ed Udhus and guitarist Dan Palmer. Formed in the mist of the Orange County, CA punk explosion this genre-crossing outfit has consistently brought their unique, fun-filled sound and explosive live show to masses around the globe.

Since their incarnation this band of brothers has shared highs and lows, sold over 2 million albums to date, survived label and lineup changes and earned a Grammy nomination from a collaboration with Motörhead.

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Zebrahead will release their new album, titled Brain Invaders on 8th March 2019 via MFZB Records.

“All My Friends Are Nobodies was one of the earliest songs we worked on for this album. It has a great message of being there for the people you care about, even though you might not be in the best emotional state yourself”, says vocalist Ali Tabatabee.

The determined and energetic start of When Both Sides Suck, We’re All Winners tells you everything you need to now about Zebrahead’s new album, Brain Invaders. Part heavy metal, part punk, part hard rock, part alternative, part ska but mostly all explosive fun.

A decent start, the rap-metal vocals of I Won’t Let You Down alongside a catchy chorus is a step up before All My Friends Are Nobodies presents a real dance floor filler. The punky vibe really helps it stand out.

The same good times vibes are present in We’re Not Alright, a sure-fire live hit. While You Don’t Know Anything About Me signals some ska-influences with the sound of trumpets before bringing the bounce. This is the Zebrahead that has seen them share the same bill as Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake.

Brain Invaders is a long album at 14 tracks so it’s inevitable that there would be the odd miss and we get the first with Chasing the Sun. A tedious number with a dull chorus. Unexciting and completely unremarkable but happily Party on the Dancefloor brings things back around with a really hectic punk tune. Do Your Worst and All Die Young then give us beaming upbeat tunes and catchiness.

The next misstep on the album comes with Up in Smoke, the silliness of the beat will appeal to some but the whistling and rap vocals are quite jarring. That the heaviest track of the album follows this is puzzling too. Ichi, Ni, San, Shi is a furious thrash heavy track that seems so out of place when contrasted by most of what is on the album. It’s a wicked track and I’d love to see more of this from Zebrahead as they certainly deliver head-banging gold.

The worst song on the album comes next though. Take A Deep Breath (And Go Fuck Yourself) is really heavy on the rap vocals and even though the chorus is pretty decent, the verses are just awful.

By time we finally reach the penultimate track there is no doubting that Brain Invaders should have already ended. All Die Young’s weakness is laid bare for all to hear and once again the overly rap-based vocals irritate.

One final hefty punch of traditional metal with Zebrahead’s high energy ends things on a higher note. However the final part of the album is found lacking when held up against what came before.

For most of its runtime, Brain Invaders does exactly that. Invades the brain with a blend of metal, punk, ska and rock. Those tracks are well worth checking out, just don’t expect to enjoy the album as a whole.

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Zebrahead – Brain Invaders Full Track Listing:

1. When Both Sides Suck, We’re All Winners
2. I Won’t Let You Down
3. All My Friends are Nobodies
4. We’re Not Alright
5. You Don’t Know Anything About Me
6. Chasing the Sun
7. Party on the Dancefloor
8. Do Your Worst
9. All Die Young
10. Up in Smoke
11. Ichi, Ni, San, Shi
12. Take A Deep Breath (And Go Fuck Yourself)
13. Better Living Through Chemistry
14. Bullet on the Brain

Brain Invaders can be ordered via Zebrahead’s webstore here. More can be found out by liking their Facebook Page, following them on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Zebrahead - Brain Invaders (MFZB Records)
  • 6.5/10
    The Final Score - 6.5/10
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