H1Z1 – UNBOUNDED (self released)

I always like reviewing bands from my area, not because I play favorites – because a band doesn’t get better by pandering – but because I’ve seen most of these bands live and getting the chance to listen to their recorded material is a good way to measure how much they put into it. A band can be amazing on stage, but if they sound like Metallica’s “St. Anger”, then it would be really hard for them to get ahead in their scene, which is where a good, constructive review can be of a lot of help.

I’ve seen H1Z1 live a few times and they’re one of those bands who really, REALLY put on a good show. Their sound bridges the gap between punk and death metal, which makes for a really good combination. Their singer, Mark, who’s this huge specimen of a big black dude, gets out in front and goes frickin’ nuts.

Then you’ve got their guitar players, Justin and Patrick. Justin is a gangly dude who just is a goofball, and Patrick is as pale as the sun is yellow, with three foot long dreadlocks. When he goes off, those things are a-FLYIN’! He also brings the band’s Adrian Belew/Tom Morello style guitar effects to bear, and it ends up being this weird sort of thing, which you can’t really put your finger on, but it sounds pretty cool.

So I got their new cd Unbounded (yes, it is a word- I looked it up), which is a staggering 11 track, fifty minute long death march of roaring music. Their big song is “Eyes of Shame” and it has a really good bangable beat to it! The rest of the album goes off without a hitch, and I found it really easy to rock out to. The overall mix is pretty good, and everyone is on point. There’s even some singing from Mark, which I have to say, is the one weak link in the chain.

Let me explain.

His screaming voice, and his delivery thereof (he mixes a lot of on-beat and off-beat singing, which is really cool) is fucking insane. But, personally, I’ve always thought that his voice has so much more range than he’s using. Where there could be an Ivan Moody class range of vocals is a variation of three or four whole notes, and I wish there was more. I do really like how he mixes those notes because – and this is the music snob in me – you’ll hear a flat where normally would be a natural note, and if you’re not prepared for it, you’ll learn to like it. I just wish there was more out of his voice, because I keep hearing these epic higher notes tones in my head that just isn’t there. What he does IS really good, I just know he can do a lot more with it and I’d like to hear that.

Overall, Unbounded is exactly what its name suggests; a no limits, balls out, grudgefest of metal and punk, and I really liked it. I would really like to see these guys do well and if Mark begins to include more dynamic in his voice, I could easily see that happening. They’re currently sans bassist, but I know they’ve found a decent interim, so if you have the chance definitely go see them. For this, I give H1Z1’s Unbounded a 4 out of 5. Nice job guys.

FFO: Chimiara, Lamb Of God

Lineup:
Mark Pointer Jr. – Vocals
Justin Mack – guitar
Patrick Gunderson – guitar
Brian Bykowski – bass
Juan Rojo – drums

Tracklist:
01 – Intro
02 – Life Span
03 – Forbidden One
04 – S.S. Departed
05 – Paralytical
06 – Helewe
07 – Antigonish
08 – Eyes of Shame
09 – Game Over
10 – Bring the Violence
11 – ADHD

Check out H1Z1 here::
https://www.facebook.com/H1Z1metal/
https://h1z1.bandcamp.com/album/unbounded

 

Written by Hobbes Caltous for Bloodrock Media, October 29, 2017.