~reviewed by Matthew J.
With spook-show organs and synthesized harpsichords bouncing merrily alongside industrial drum programming, Zeitgeist Zero’s eponymous debut album is like old-school death rock with new school production values. There’s enough of a contemporary goth metal feel here to bring in the younger fan demographic, but instead of played out teen angst, there’s enough tongue-in-cheek lightheartedness here to keep things from getting too serious and self-involved.
Songs like “Decay” and “Kill Your Idols” are appealingly grim, with thick synthesizers driven along by heavy metal power chords and lead singer Teresa Dead’s punk-influenced but sensual vocals, while the industrial rock stomp of “Beasts Under My Bed” sounds a bit like Shirley Manson fronting Marilyn Manson. “Pins & Needles” is slower and moodier, with a bit of a singsong darkwave vibe that should appeal to fans of Switchblade Symphony, and “Pearls of Wisdom” is full of old-fashioned smokiness and bluesy piano chords.
While a number of the songs here feature stereotypical gothic imagery, pieces like “Tombstone Tourist” are more about dancing in the graveyard than moping around in it, and “Bride of Frankenstein” drives the point home that Zeitgeist Zero are in this because it’s good fun. With its Halloween keyboards and lines like “Two dark eyes, a demonic stare/I use lightning bolts to perm my hair,” it’d be campy enough to be a Cramps song, if not for the drum machine.
This refreshingly unpretentious debut album goes to show that you can have all of the bells and whistles of new school goth without giving up any of the raucous energy of good old-fashioned death rock.