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Metal by itself is always on the verge of self-parody, whether you like it or not. So when you try to parody the genre, you usually end up enlarging things that make the genre so god damn awesome in the first place. Why else would you think the mockumentary 'This Is Spinal Tap' is especially successful among fans of the music it's making fun of? The Canadians of Zimmers Hole must have understood that simple theory and having a vast amount of experience in many not so subtle Metal bands - most notably Strapping Young Lad, of course - they have the luggage they need to magnify everything both awesome and ridiculous about Metal.
'When You Were Shouting At The Devil...We Were In League With Satan' is without any doubt the best Zimmers Hole album so far. The previous two albums definitely had their moments, but ultimately, the "parody bliss" value lost to the large amount of toilet humor. The latter is still available on this album and therefore still isn't perfect (since I really think that stuff like 'Anonymous Esophagus' and 'Fista Corps' suffer from their laugh-or-die mentality songwriting-wise), but the band really found out what they're best at: both mocking and honoring their favorite kind of music at the same time. A quick look on the track list already reveals that: songs like the title track, '1312' and 'Hair Doesn't Grow On Steel' reveal that they tackle the hilarious lyric writing of the likes of Manowar and any Black Metal band and they couple that with a musical approach that is so damn catchy that there's no escaping. These melodies cause sheer Metal euphoria!
Seriously, how can a band that writes the line "Exodus was fucking right: all the posers must die" do any wrong? That line is from the opening title track of the album which to me is one of the ultimate Metal tracks from 2008. The thrashy riffs (including the one "borrowed" from 'Bonded By Blood') and triumphant vocal and guitar melodies can't keep me from banging my head and smiling. The same goes for tracks like 'We Rule The Fucking Land' and the brilliant Manowar-pisstake 'Hair Doesn't Grow On steel'. Due to it's farting and off-key harmonica intro, 'The Devil's Mouth' seems to go down toilet humor territory, but then transforms in a song so mighty with a chorus so goosebumps inducing, that I can't help but loving the song. And if you're as into "biker Rock" as I am... Give 'Alright' a shot. You won't regret.
Of course, the musicianship of the quartet is superb. This is Gene Hoglan's first album with Zimmers Hole and although his predecessor Steve Wheeler wasn't too shabby, he really takes the compositions to a higher level. Jed Simon is all over this album with his brilliant riffing and melodies unheard on the majority of Strapping Young Lad's amazing stuff and Chris Valagao sometimes sounds so much like Devin Townsend, that you're sometimes wondering if you're not listening to a bunch of sequels to Strapping Young Lad's similar masterpiece 'Far Beyond Metal'.
'When You Were Shouting At The Devil...We Were In League With Satan' is an incredibly fun Metal album that enlarges every element you might like about Metal. If you're one of those conservative chagrins, don't bother, but even if you have the slightest sense of humor, you should give this a try. The album is not without its flaws, but worth hearing and enjoying!