I don’t have much info on Zeměžluč, because most of what I can find online is in Czech, and frankly I’m too lazy today to look very hard. This Czech punk trio has been around since the late 1980s and have a fairly long discography as far as punk bands go, with at least nine full length albums and a bunch of singles and EPs to their credit. Systém Kanibal came out in 2003, just before what appears to be some type of hiatus as their next LP didn’t get released until 2011. This was another acquisition from the “going out of business” sale at Easy Street Records, still sitting there in the New Arrivals bin just waiting for me to come along. It was obviously punk, on red vinyl, hand numbered on the reverse (#60 / 500), and at 40% off of $6.99 seemed like a bargain at twice the price, so I scooped it up. Particularly sweet is the insert, which includes the lyrics to all the songs in both Czech and English – kind of a nice touch, since at least now I’ll have an idea of what the hell these guys are singing about.
So what’s the deal? Well, Zeměžluč certainly is punkish, though they almost sound more like speed metal to me. There are 19 tracks packed onto Systém Kanibal, and only two of them clock in at over three minutes… hell, two are under a minute (to be fair, though, they are two different versions of the same song… thankfully there’s a radio edit version here, since I’d hate to think I was listening to obscenities in a foreign language). All the songs are fast, though some are certainly faster than others – so half the songs sound metal, the other half punk. Which is cool.
My favorite track is, ironically, the only one with an English title – “Hippie Punx Blues,” that closes out side A with a wicked fast, funky bassline. Side B continues strong with the opening track “Hura Je To Tady,” which is more a standard fast punk song with more speed bass, and a sign of things to come on an overall impressive B side. Now that I’m keyed into the bass, I see it’s influence throughout the album – solid, fast, funky, and heavy, not just pacing the songs, but giving them some flavor as well. I like it. Vocally it’s pretty standard punk – moderately angry sounding with raw and somewhat suspect backing vocals, but I mean, who cares? It isn’t about sounding pretty or harmonizing. It’s about energy and angst and beer and attitude. And in those areas, it succeeds with flying colors.