H.P. Zinker nurtured a turbulent lifestyle throughout their career, but that eventually nominated them for cult status among the Austrian underground music scene. Led by a prolific mastermind Hans Platzgumer, Zinker released five great albums, such as And There Was Light, Beyond It All, Perseverance, Staying Loose, and Mountains Of Madness. Besides the albums, H.P. Zinker published numerous singles and bootlegs in their short time-spanning career. The group was formed in New York City back in 1989 by two Austrian natives who soon become recognizable on the NYC underground music scene. The group shared the stage with numerous legendary acts such as Sonic Youth, The Lemonheads, Ween, Helmet, Jon Spencer Blue Explosion, plus many more along the way. One of the most interesting facts about the career of this remarkable group is that J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. drummed for them and Evan Dando of The Lemonheads occasionally sung for them. Two legendary NY recording labels like Matador and Thrill Jockey started their operations mainly because of H.P. Zinker, and their releases were catalog number 001 at both record labels. They were also the part of Fire Records, later known as Domino Records, with whom they signed a record deal back in 1990. The band also received a Grammy nomination.
Later on, the group broke up in 1994, right in the middle of the Europian tour, leaving no option for the further reunion. Most of their records were sold out for a very long time until Noise Appeal Records decided to celebrate their 10th anniversary by publishing the singles collection by H.P Zinker. Later on, the label determined to publish Mountains Of Madness, which most of the critics consider as the best work of the H.P. Zinker. Mountains Of Madness also represents the final recording of the group, published in 1994. before their disbandment. This particular material showcases how all the involved members matured as the musicians. Comparing to their debut recording, the group made tremendous evolvement. H.P. Zinker stands out from the remaining portion of the grunge scene of that particular era. Their sound unquestionably classifies as grunge music, but it seems there are a lot more involvements stacked somewhere beneath their initial sound. Besides their primary direction, the group carries subtle dosages of stoner rock, which was still in the developments back in the day. The group also flirts with punk rock, indie, psychedelic rock, funk, blues, but it incorporates these elements as occasional accentuations that are enhancing the overall listening experience. Their music was so expansive and progressive for the times when they operated as a band.
Mountains Of Madness explores all the possibilities, challenges the musical abilities of the entire group, and examines every possible aspect of the genres they included on the bill. H.P. Zinker showcases their version of the expanded grunge sound through slightly fuzzy distorted guitar shreds that interpolate into funky progressions, psychedelic rock technicalities, and bluesy scales. The group includes the uncompromising dynamics of noisy punk rock music, which was quite popular from the mid-eighties to mid-nineties. Wise usage of guitar effects such as wah-wah, reverb, and fuzz empowers some segments of these songs, but the group also acknowledges when to calm things down with delicate acoustic parts. Basslines are going completely beyond every comprehension, mainly because of tremendous musicianship included throughout the entire recording. Thoughtfully assembled low-end tones are giving even more psychedelic feel to some compositions, but also providing relentless power to substantial segments. Nothing would sound so dynamic without excellent drumming performance that leads the remaining portion of the group through very detailed rhythmical structures. The driving force behind the drum kit is entirely responsible for the energy of H.P. Zinker. Each cog in the machinery operates as a singular organism with a task to highlight every possible moment with exceptional musicianship, and that’s the undeniable quality of this band.
This re-issue offers the opportunity for newbies to explore the music of this remarkable band but also provides the opportunity for the long time fans to enhance their record collection with this masterpiece. Noise Appeal Records has done a marvelous job on this one. Mountains Of Madness comes with the original award-winning artwork done by Stefan Sagmeister, followed up by a very impressive twelve-page booklet. The front cover unveils an optical illusion, which shows the peaceful grimace of a man, but as soon as you remove the vinyl cover from the red plastic, the man showcases the raging facial expression in shades of red, white, and green. The booklet includes all the necessary info and photos, designed to accommodate the remaining portion of the artwork. Mountains Of Madness comes as a double album on green and red 180gr vinyl records, and it’s available in 300 copies at Noise Appeal Records web store. Head over to their website and treat yourself with one of the best bands Austria has to offer.