Zilch - 3.2.1 ZILCH

review - 01.25.2007 07:00

Freelance review of Zilch' first album.

3.2.1 Zilch (or 3.2.1 as it's often called) was the first album released by the band Zilch, a group hide created with American artists to break into the Western market. Due to hide's passing, the album was never released overseas as intended. It was followed up by the album Bastard EYES, a "bastardized" version of 3.2.1. Originally intended for hard rock markets and touring with artists like Marilyn Manson, this album took a less 'fun rock' or ballad style like hide fans were used to hearing. 3.2.1.’s main focus is in the genre of heavy metal, churning out heavy bass rhythms and lines upon lines of creative and perverted lyrics, most of which are in English.

The first song is perhaps the most famous of the album: Electric Cucumber (originally written by Frank Zappa), is one of two cover songs on the album. The lyrics are full of BDSM references, telling of leather and euphemisms for vibrators while the background music is filled with lustful voices of women in the throes of their play. The guitar holds the song together well, helping to portray the pairing of sex and rock 'n' roll.

Pervert Mound, the oddly titled second track on this album, bursts open with a powerful electric guitar/bass combo that you can feel down in your bones. Full of what fans call "engrish", the song is hardly less perverted than the last, describing how the character in the song is turned on by the perverted acts of a female he admires. The next track is Sold Some Attitude, followed by the fourth track which possibly has the best name on the album, Space Money Punks from Japan. This is probably a reference to the fact that hide was the only Japanese member of the band, and Zilch was hell-bent on beaming their "radio waves" into your home. Fun, fun song, it reminds one of hide’s older tunes. This song is ended by a strange spoken track of an American thanking everyone for "coming out here tonight."

Here is where the second cover song shows up, Swampsnake. Originally sung by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, this song got zilched, so to speak. Raw, sexy and dangerous, it kind of makes you want to roll around on the floor while listening to it. The following track, What’s up Mr. Jones? caught me by surprise. It’s the same music, melody, and rhythm as DRAIN written by hide when he was with X Japan only with completely different English lyrics. An excellent song and one of the best pieces on the album.

Hey man so long is the seventh track. The lyric "hello hello hello goodbye" will make a reappearance in Bastard EYES as a song title in memory of the confusion over hide's death. The drums keep the song sharp, and it’s great track to bob you head along with. I adore how the spoken parts are done in an echo effect with hide’s voice in the front and a deeper bass voice behind it. It is also followed by a bizarre radio-show style blip that’s introduced as "Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio show."

The eighth track is Psych. It’s slower and brings back the earlier perverted lyrics. Fucktrack#6 is actually the ninth track on the CD. Lyrics about violence and sodomy easily give it an NC-17 rating. When I first heard this song, I could not believe that this was hide's voice; this whole album really opened me up to hide's vocal capabilities. There’s more use of guitars and synths in this song than vocals however, bridging together the last song and the next.

The next track, Doubt, is one of hide's more popular songs, as this was the song coupled with hide's solo single 50% & 50%. The introduction takes its sweet time, teasing you with electric guitar and faint traces of words then breaks into full run with fast paced lyrics. You’ll accelerate from head bobbing to head banging with this one.

Pose is fantastic and can only be described as such. It’s the sort of music that plays in a movie right before the big gun battle breaks out. This song was also on Psyence, and there’s several remixes sprinkled throughout hide’s discography. Coming to a close at the end, we hit Easy Jesus. It’s not as slow as Psych, but it proves that bands can have a rock song that takes its time. It ends with 30 seconds of an up-beat voice repeating "3.2.1 zilch".

3.2.1 zilch is an incredible work considering half the songs' lyrics make zero sense and relies on the music and hide’s raw, beautiful voice to carry them through. Zilch had the potential to be huge; there is no doubt that if hide hadn't met his unfortunate end, Zilch would have exploded into the Western world.
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