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CD REVIEW: Zookeeper's Palace  - Red Sky Ruminations

by: Cyrus Rhodes




Artist/Band: Zookeeper's Palace

Album: Red Sky Ruminations
Label: Independent Artist

Genre: Progressive Rock, World, Epic Fusion

Sounds Like: Al Di Meola, Santana, Faith no More, King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Beruit.

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Grounded by the Air, K(No)w Corrosion, A Red Sky at Night

Weakness:  Winded Songs, Genera Identity Crisis  




From Los Angeles comes 6 piece band Zookeeper's Palace who just released their debut CD entitled Red Sky Ruminations in 2012. Melding a unique yet accessible blend of unearthly guitars, polyrhythmic beats, tasty keyboards, groove-ridden bass lines and infectious vocal harmonies, the ZkP sound is a testament to how they insist on shifting the face of rock. Band members include: Matthew Fonda (Vocals, Percussion), Candice Harris (Drums, Percussion), Matthew Luker (Keyboards), Mike Bear (Bass), L. Chalwell (Percussion) and Zack McNair (Guitars).

The CD kicks off with “A Red Sky in Mourning" a methodical psychedelic groove painted against emotionally charged vocals, driving worldly rhythms and dynamic musical flow leading you head first into Track 2 “Grounded by the Air.” This track is my personal favorite and shifts gears a bit with solid low end intro, alternative rock-fusion feel coupled with passionate vocals from Fonda.  Track 3. “Burn Together, Burn Forever” possesses a dynamic intro eventually lending itself into a Progressive Rock crescendo meshed against infectious harmonies and  catchy groove that flows and ebbs its way through fruition. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 impressive pieces in a row. I would classify this music as Progressive Rock, with a worldly fusion aftertaste with musical flavors that is captivating and entertaining. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Al Di Meola, Santana, with perhaps a dash of Faith no More, King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, and Beruit. I will add this bands signature sound is quite challenging to pigeonhole. Right from the start you will notice Fonda and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice psychedelic, jam band, epic feel to it. The guitar playing ambience and dynamic musical flow are rock solid across they dish out mesmerizing writing and lyrical content. Fonda’s voice goes down smooth and is full of passion, naked vulnerability and recklessness abandon. Also present are sporadic ambient and percussive elements, lush harmonies, impressive guitar, keyboards,  and well placed harmonies. The lyrical content is extremely creative and entertaining. No doubt some of the meanings of these songs is buried deep within the lyrical content. From melodic “K(No)w Corrosion, to heartfelt “Stop Signs” to rocking “Perfect Picture” to methodical “Nothing Left to Gain” this CD has something for just about everyone. CD ends with Track 12 “Bound to Dust” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.   

All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. CD suffers from a mild case of genera intensity crisis. The overall sound of Zookeepers Palace Is a bit all over the place. I would recommend Zookeepers Palace narrow the fairway a bit with respect to their overall sound.

Red Sky Ruminations by Zookeeper's Palace is a rock solid statement. Song for song, note for note its rock solid catalogue of music. It just has a nice earthy feel and has quite a lot to offer the listener. Its strong suit – the song for song Worldly consistency and amazing songwriting prowess of these 6 members. So if you like a Progressive Rock catalogue that dishes out a mesmerizing Fusion-World rock rhythms then look no further you found it in Zookeeper's Palace.  

Cyrus Rhodes

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