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Act of God stands as one of my favorite all-time thrash metal records, but before evolving to that level of competence, Znöwhite put out a few fast and dirty EPs with a pure old school fury. The lyrics were all over the place, ranging from the more serious fare the band would adhere to later, to tracks about partying like "Live for the Weekend", in which the line 'It's Friday night and you're hard as an anvil' is actually uttered. Okay, what am I complaining about, that's awesome.
Kick 'Em When They're Down is the second of their EPs, following up the equally raunchy All Hail to Thee from the previous year. There are five tracks on this album, and Nicole Lee's sharp, aggressive vocals dominate the pumping drums and blazing guitars. Though the band was already producing the sharp and metallic, hostile tones on their earlier material, it's not quite at the level of holocaust thrash like Act of God. Regardless, all of these songs are fun, with the faster "Live for the Weekend" and "Too Late" my clear favorites. "Run Like the Wind" and "Turn Up the Pain" are slower tracks, but still pretty good. Lee remains one of my favorite female vocalists in metal for a reason, her biting tone is brash and unforgettable, while Ian Tafoya's rhythms are always kickass and the leads are quick and filthy. Znöwhite is one of the best metal bands to ever hail from the Midwest, insanely underrated. I'd suggest you start with Act of God over the EPs if you are new to their sound, but the earlier material is not a long stretch from what they'd become.
Znowhite surely deserved more attention during their short existence. This band begun in 1981 to play a sort of early speed metal, so influenced by early Abbattoir and the whole heavy metal scene in that period. Their first EP is called “All Hail To Thee” (1984) and yet they showed their good music, made of passion and sweat. The main characteristic of this group is surely the frontman, or better the frontwoman, Nicole Lee. Her voice is simply perfect, mixed with their primitive speed metal.
Their music is still a bit raw here, but in perfect 80’s style and I love it! With the first song Living For The Weekend, they show their influences, that goes also to the great Motorhead…only on speed! The songs are usually quite short, like in their first EP BUT songs like Run Like The Wind are more “thrashy” and complex…so here you can see what music would have done in the future with the great “Act Of God” album. In this song there aren’t the so speed patterns like in the other songs.
Too Late song is quite good, but not the best one here. The bass drum is fast like in every typical speed metal band and with the final Turn Up the Pain song we definitely see the quite new direction taken by the group: mid paced riffs, mix with great guitar melodies, in the future so well done in some break of “Act of God”. Great song, with a fantastic speed part in the end.
With this second EP surely Znowhite have shown a good technical improvement in the structure of the songs that still remained well balanced between classic heavy metal and speed, but with a foot in the future…an excellent thrash one.