Zedi Forder – Isolation (and Zedi Forder Superium – Judgement) Review

As summer draws near, something has been lacking. Not the patio beers, or the large gatherings, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on until the kind lads from Zedi Forder sent me their latest work, Isolation, a few weeks ago. Then I remembered what an awesome summer band these guys are. Three years ago, their self-titled debut garnered a strong review and a ton of warm-weather airplay here. I was elated when these blokes reached out, but then when they said “we’ll send you both albums” I cringed. Two? Yup. Not content with releasing another super alt-metal disc, the band has created a heavier alter-ego, Zedi Forder Superium, and released Judgement. So here’s a different kind of double review for you, as I try to cram both records into one post.

Let’s take a look at Zedi Forder’s main release first. Isolation is another solid offering of hooky, radio-friendly alt-metal, but done so well as to satisfy the most discerning of listeners. Drummer/singer/writer Chris Kerley has a knack for writing the catchiest vocal melodies, and deserves far more accolades for his songwriting chops. The band’s newest addition, on guitar, Wayne Clifford brings some serious skill to the game, adding plenty of excellent riffs, solos, and breaks throughout that really perk up the ears. And of course, Rich Tomsett is his usual stellar self on the bass weapon.

The twelve songs on Isolation manage to drip with accessibility and throw out metallic shards at the same time, which is not easy to do. The metallic side of the equation is largely due to Clifford’s excellent work, while Kerley manages to consistently throw down excellent vocals. The flirty keyboard lines that appear here and there don’t hurt, either. Amazingly, there is no chaff to be found amongst these dozen songs. Standout tracks include the synth-laced “JoJo,” which seems to be a song about scoundrels, the funky bass-led “Messy Mechanical,” and “Anonymoose,” which features possibly the most addictive hook on the album. That being said, the rest of the album is practically as strong, and listeners will undoubtedly enjoy other tracks just as much.

Flipping over to the band’s heavier alter-ego, Zedi Forder Superium, we tackle their debut, Judgement. A short outing, comprised of eight songs spanning a mere 28 minutes, Judgement is packed with pounding, jagged riffs and more memorable writing. Judgement is definitely a more aggressive album, and this Superium version of the band is clearly a different beast. Kerley attacks the drum kit with aplomb, while Tomsett and Clifford lay down a number of chunky riffs in unison, creating a thick and gritty backdrop. “Wherefore Art Thou” is a groovy monster, and “Knock Knock” sounds like a frantic march to some inevitable end. A changeup comes in the form of “Quell My Beating Heart,” which closes the album in an intriguing ballad-turned-speed metal fashion. I’d normally try to make a suggestion as to who these guys sound like, but I can’t wrap my head around it and that’s probably because of the vocals.

Here on Judgement, Kerley has made the odd decision to down-tune his vocals. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Adrian Belew’s trick on the King Crimson song “ProzaKc Blues,” but in that case it was one song; on Judgement, the effect permeates the album, with Kerley injecting his much better melodic voice only on a few occasions. The vocals don’t make the record heavier, but rather add an air of brevity that the music doesn’t really need, and comes off as rather gimmicky. Perhaps more aggressive vocals rather than down-tuned would have been a better choice. Regardless, I still found myself intoning “I place my trust in you, I place aaaall my trust,” whenever “Knock Knock” came on. Thankfully, the songs themselves overcome this odd choice, showcasing the talent this trio has.

Once the shock of being given two albums to review at once wore off, I was once again suitably impressed by Zedi Forder, as well as Zedi Forder Superium. Isolation is a worthy follow-up to the band’s self-titled effort, and will definitely be receiving a lot of airtime over the summer, while Judgement, despite the odd vocal choice, also features more strong songwriting and some earwormy material that will also see repeat listens. If you ignored these guys three years ago, don’t make the same mistake again – especially with these albums being Name Your Price on Bandcamp.

Rating: Isolation: 3.5/5.0 Judgement: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Underdog Elite
Websites: zediforder.com | tricore.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/zediforder
Releases Worldwide: Isolation: May 15th, 2020 Judgement: May 11th, 2020

« »