ALBUM REVIEW: Zach E. West ’28 Years Later’

28 Years Later album coverI write with a bit of sadness that I’m reviewing 28 Years Later, quite possibly the final album Zach E. West has created. For almost two years he has worked on this album, and I must say it is a work of art that must have paid off for him. He has a talent for expressing himself in ways that we all can understand and resonate with – not to mention he continues producing music that is absolutely mind-blowing to the average listener. I say this because, it’s not every day that you get to listen to an album that encompasses someone’s personal life story, (in fact, I feel like it’s very rare nowadays). Zach’s music, however, is the complete embodiment of personal artistry that also accompanies musical innovation. He has brought a unique factor to this album that is a breath of fresh air, and completely saturated with originality.

“Take me home,” is the intro to the album, everything about it takes you by surprise but also has a timely, relaxed essence about it. It then moves onto “Change it, Replace it” with great guitar riffage and even piano in the introduction of the song. My favorite part of the song is the vocals and lyrics personally “Take a look back at what we had, and where we are now, do you really think we can move forward?” and then not much later, a very nice instrumental interlude with the vocals fading in again until he sings “This is the first day of life,” opening to a great guitar solo. It’s not often you genuinely hear music that really feels like the vocals and instrumental aspects are strongly related and intertwined, and I think this song showcases this rarity perfectly. Really, all of Zach’s music sounds like this, especially due to the fact he plays EVERY instrument.
The next song “The Music Industry” really articulates his views on, well, the music industry. Opening with a lovely piano and vocals, this song takes the high road when it comes to speaking on such a topic. Oh speaking of vocals by the way, I really feel like his voice in this song reminds me of a more interesting rock n roll-like David Gahan. But that’s just me. Afterwards, “28 years later” has an acoustic intro that slowly brings in vocals and piano as well. The first verse continues with a hard rock tone in the guitars that feels very cinematic. The whole song weaves in and out with these hardcore-like riffs and fast drums, then simple vocals with a relaxing acoustic tone. Later, there is a piano serenade that accompanies the guitar and vocals building up chaotically to finalize the song with the same acoustic riff it began with. At this point in the album you cannot deny the building up effect that comes with it, adrenaline and all. In comparison, “An instrumental Guide to the End of the Galaxy” is a lot more instrumental with the piano and synth openings. It really is reminiscent of many well done movie scores. A strong beat comes in, then what seems like almost distorted guitar, and even some tribal like beats with bongos as well. This is one of the best songs on the album that let you in on the completely instrumental side of things, and very much displays Zach’s talent with multiple instruments. It’s by this time in the album that it’s completely obvious how diverse he is with his music, again – another thing that is very rare with the competing artists of today.
The final song on the album, ”Stand Strong” brought me to tears as I listened. The piano intro is absolutely inspiring as Zach’s voice comes in with “You arrived here/my own son/left me speechless/showed me love was real” yeah, I was kind of bawling at this point because I’m a crybaby. The instrumental aspect also left me speechless, it’s a beautifully composed song that also expresses love in its deepest defining moment. PLUS it’s still got cowbell, a little screaming, and quite possibly the greatest rock guitar solo of the year.

I didn’t think this album could get any better until I interviewed Zach E. West himself, and saw the method behind the amazing madness. You can read that interview here.

All proceeds of his final album go to his son’s college funds as well, all the more reason to buy the album. You can purchase the CD here.

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Caitlin Shores

Writer and Photographer

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