Zen Arcade - Snowflake


2001, Zen Arcade, ZACD001

Zen Arcade

SA Rock Digest charts:
highest position: 1
weeks on Top 20: 33


  1. Ode
  2. Sister mp3
  3. Crazy Over You
  4. Not About You
  5. Step Back
  6. Up
  7. Take Out The Trash


  • Alistair Mathie: Bass
  • Andrew Cleland: Drums
  • Iain McKenzie: Vocals, guitar
  • James Donaldson: Guitar


Into the SA rock playground stride the boys of Zen Arcade. They've heard all those "Rock is Dead" whispers but know better. They also know that there's still nothing to beat a good, old fashioned guitar, bass, drums and stirring vocals four-piece rock band. So the name on their T-shirts gives a respectful nod to their favourite Hüsker Dü masterpiece, and the seven songs on their mighty but measured (and quite short) first album, jokingly titled 'Snowflake', pay similar allegiance to a broad sweep of rock influences. Yet 'Snowflake' has a now-ness and newness about it that is refreshing and cause for much optimism.

Each of these seven hard rock "ballads" have their own special charm, even though some of them wade well over the six minute mark. Opener 'Ode' hints at things to come with its restrained edgy backing before 'Sister' established the band's current rock credentials with its big and brash nu-metal swagger. Then it's back to the soaring, soulful and touchingly vulnerable vocals of the addictively melodic first single, 'Crazy Over You', which stood tall among the many other worthy contributions on the 'Showcase 3: Unearthed' new SA Class of '01 rock mixture.

Up next is the album's clear highlight, 'Not About You', which finds singer Iain McKenzie letting his vocals swoop in and out of the band's almost funky rock groove, creating a thundering Zep-like stomp. 'Step Back', 'Up' and closer 'Take Out The Trash', continue to raise the tempo instead of letting us down lightly. But it's all very controlled and well-paced, leaving the songs to expose their strengths and sustain our interest all the way through. Credit here to producer Neil Snyman for finding a way to simultaneously harness and unleash the band's energy and sound. 'Snowflake' has nothing in its sounds or styles that is startlingly new or innovative, but its solid, wired and deceptively tuneful contents indicate plenty of potential and promise. Watch these ous!

Stephen Segerman, SA Rockdigest #177, August 2001

Buy MP3s:

Buy South African MP3s from Rhythm Online

Click here to buy MP3s from Rhythm Online

All info supplied by John Samson, June 2002

TOPback to where you came from
South Africa's Rock Legends
South African Rock Digest