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Zombie Charity: Welcome To Zombieville

Visit this outfit's CD Baby page and you'll see this album marked for fans of Jimi Hendrix, Erik Brann or David Gilmour. Add in a name like Zombie Charity and expectations of classy guitar licks rubbing shoulders with Rob Zombie like bombast are beginning to form excitedly in the mind. However, I'm not sure any of the three mentioned are famed for plying their trade over looped beats from a drum machine that gently gnaw at the senses until you're left checking the track list to see how many cuts are left...

In essence Zombie Charity and their debut Welcome To Zombieville is from the mind of one man, Bill Bechtel (guitar, keyboard, "drum control"), who is aided along the way by Robert Wegmann on Chapman Stick, and fretless bass, Migual Alvares on sax and Richard Schrei on Native American Flute. The journey to get this album "out there" has been long and arduous, recording commencing in 2007, real life and financial crashes causing delays for six years, before a CD release was confirmed. A further problem with the manufacture of the discs led to Welcome To Zombieville being released as a digital only release before, in July this year, the physical version finally arrived. So I have to take my hat off to Bechtel for his perseverance, for many would have simply thrown the towel in. Hence it gives me no pleasure in saying that after all that time and effort, I've been simply unable to connect with the end results at all. Bechtel is a skilled guitarist, his fluent, yet dirty style leading this instrumental affair with no little gusto, yet I simply can't get past the disengaging and annoying drum machine, something which causes little character or colour to be brought to the songs. Resulting in the lead instrument (whether that be Bechtel's guitars or Alavrez's sax) to sound isolated and disjointed from the music itself.

As far as instrumental albums go, I can usually find some connect between them and either the overall concept, or individual song titles, yet here "Welcome To Zombieville", "Java Trek", "Twilight In Tangiers" and so on just feel like a guitar, or sax solo played over a beat, with no real adherence to the (I presume) intended theme or at least not for me anyway. Instead the overriding feel from the fast paced pieces are as though you'd been tied to a lounger and fed a diet of acid and Miami Vice incidental music, the clash of Hendrix and Hammer one to be dazzled and confused by... Add in a straight, garage take of "Greensleeves" and the disorientation is compounded.

It's hard being this negative about something which has so obviously been infused with so much passion, belief and time. However in the end Welcome To Zombieville has left me floundering in the dark for a means of escape. If fuzzed up, garagey guitar led, drum machine infused fare is your bag, check out Zombie Charity, but I've already planted the Danger-Keep-Out signs at the entrance to Zombieville.

Track Listing
1. Rain Sanction
2. Kilamanjaro
3. Moment By Moment
4. Vision Quest
5. Welcome to Zombieville
6. Greensleeves
7. Java Trek
8. Flight Path
9. Warped Rotor
10. Zen Garden
11. Twilight in Tangiers
12. Edge Criteria
13. Halloween Rocks!

Added: August 23rd 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Zombie Charity at CD Baby
Hits: 1498
Language: english

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