Review: Zen Juddhism, Zen Juddhism

Zen Juddhism, Zen Juddhism

27 Jan, 2015 Justin Kreitzer


ZEN JUDDHISM is the brand new solo music project from the Southampton based guitarist and songwriter Jude Ωne Eight.  He is best known as the guitarist for the goth and industrial-informed electro-rock band Hybrid 6.0, but now Jude is able to spread his musical wings even further with his first solo effort, as he experiments with catchy, Fountains Of Wayne-like power-pop and forays into folk, soul and goes further down the spiral into metal and indie rock on his self-released and self-titled debut album.  The album is available now digitally and on CD in all of the usual online marketplaces via Jude’s own Loosh Rote Records.  Allowing his fancy fretwork to speak for himself, Jude has invited several of his friends and former contributors to provide the vocals on the songs, including Marlene Rodriguez, Andy Thomas and Opkar Hans.  Each of the very capable vocalists were carefully selected and curated to bring the best out of the song and to fit in with the style and vision that Jude was aiming for.

The album opens with “Chocolate Cake” which is highlighted by some blazing blues rock riffs that channel both the pomp and stomp of Led Zeppelin and the unbridled energy of early Wolfmother.  The song also features the first of four powerful vocal performances from guest, Marlene Rodriguez.  “Private Banks (So Cold)” follows with crunchy guitars and a propulsive rhythm as vocalist Opkar Hans gives a sneering shot of pop sensibility to the bouncy, punk and grunge-informed standout track.  Featuring vocals from former Hybrid 6.0 contributor Naomi Terry, “Want To Be Free” is built upon a knotty guitar lick that unfurls into a laid back jangle on the infectious, soaring chorus for another standout moment.  Next, “Concrete Beat” features an appropriately danceable yet driving drum beat, some electro-charged guitars and more vocals from Marlene Rodriquez that blend together to recall mid-90’s Brit-rock faves Elastica and Republica.

If you are looking for the song that most closely resembles Jude’s parent band, Hybrid 6.0, then check out “Heart Removal”, which features roaring vocals from Andy Thomas of Brighton synth-punk duo Half Ghost Third Machine alongside a stuttering stop and start rhythm and a heavy, metallic guitar riff.  As a nice surprise, Southampton hip-hop legend Lord Lav is featured on “Clash From Oblivion”, where he spits a tale of an alien encounter gone bad alongside a shuffling beat, strange synth sounds and surging guitars.  The standout track also features a catchy, sing-along chorus complete with gang vocal.  Sounding like a lost 90’s alt-rock radio hit, “Am I Alive?” is a bittersweet ballad with tumbling tom-heavy drums, fuzzy guitars and more great vocals from Marlene Rodriguez.  “Green Eyes” is an upbeat slice of power-pop highlighted by woozy slide guitar played with a coffee mug and vocals from Opkar Hans.  Featuring more sultry vocals from Naomi Terry, the darkly romantic single “Hold” sounds like a cross between Garbage and Blondie with more modern touches of Evanescence’s brand of goth-rock.  Another standout; “East” is built on a solid foundation consisting of a stomping rhythm and a chugging fuzzed out blues rock riff that would make Jack White proud and also features a swaying vocal melody sung perfectly by Marlene Rodriguez.  The eleven track album closes out on a high note with the psychedelic swirl of the Opkar Hans assisted “Temporary” and its guitar-led soft-chugging rhythm and side-winding soloing.

With his exciting new solo project, ZEN JUDDHISM, Jude Ωne Eight has offered up a very promising debut that spans the map musically but is held together by his excellent guitar playing, memorable melodies and solid songwriting.

Reviewed by: Justin Kreitzer
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars