Band – Z Wolf
Album/Label – Dream Machine II / Unsigned
Rating – 4.5/5
Out of the trendy morass of what constitutes popular music in 2017, comes an album that shatters the mold and grabs you in your nether regions, reaffirming your faith that there are still artists striving to blaze their very own trail.
“Dream Machine II“, the new solo album from Z Wolf, is full of aural awesomeness. As one-half of the sonic tour de force that is Damn the Witch Siren, he incorporates myriad styles/genres on the ten tracks that constitutes his latest effort.
If Peter Murphy and Lords of Acid consummated their forbidden love, the result would most certainly be the wonder that is Z Wolf.
Opening with Don’t Be Afraid, a booming club anthem that sets the tone for “Dream Machine II”, its brevity is what makes it work as the perfect track for an evening of letting your freak flag fly high.
Die for You makes one immediately think of Kenny Loggins getting his groove on. The beat had me tapping my toes, almost wanting to jump up and begin dancing around the office. It’s infectious in its simplicity, with a tempo that is anything but nostalgic.
The Only Thing fades in with an ethereal quality that is understated in tone, building upon an early 90’s club sound that sounds fresh and new. His vocal work on this track is the perfect companion for the underlying music.
On Beautiful, he channels his inner Praga Khan, blasting a techno beat that is at home in any club today, as it would have been in early 90’s Belgium. Trust me, the darkness and emotion of this track makes it a standout on “Dream Machine II.”
Midnight continues in very much the same vein as the previous track, yet with a softer approach. With the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff, you are pushed off into the floating ether of wonderment with the muted uptempo beat. The aural strobe effect of his musicianship left me wanting more the four-minute length of the track had to offer.
The darkness returns with Wake Up. The robotic undercurrent of Z singing he’ll “give you what you need” is so much more powerful than Mr. Roboto-era Styx. Sci-Fi in nature, Wake Up works on many levels, making your body move in ways you didn’t imagine possible.
The dark castle-like musing of Ghosts Come Knocking explodes into a full-out raver, reminiscent of Ministry in their heyday. Its in-your-face stabbing is second-to-none. This is quite possibly my favorite track of the ten offered.
Turn Me On is what Bauhaus would have sounded like with an updated dance beat, wanting to become at one with the digital machines that are more and more ruling our world. The darker lyrics juxtapose nicely with the beat that he lays down, making you second guess your choices of an analog or digital life.
On Forever and Ever, one gets the feeling that he is chasing you with everything within his arsenal, including a wonderful Depeche Mode aural assault. You can’t help but smile as you listen to this, wanting to hit the nearest dance floor with all your friends.
He closes the album with the ethereal sounds of The Light. The understated beat brings you back to earth in one piece after the sonic journey through the dream-like state the album produces. Once again, you are back in the analog world of flesh and blood, much to your chagrin.
Capturing a vibe that I haven’t felt from a band/musician in decades, Z Wolf‘s “Dream Machine II” is a bull in the china shop of today’s popular music. It’s something different, yet somehow familiar. And for that, I am thankful.
“Dream Machine II” is my top pick for a must-have album in 2017. Do yourself a favor and get this quick. You’ll be happy that you did.
“Dream Machine II” from Z Wolf drops April 28 to freaks everywhere.
Z Wolf – Die For You