Review JETHRO TULL ‘The Zealot Gene’

To introduce Jethro Tull is like carrying sand to the beach. Everybody, who is seriously interested in rock music have heard of the band and the iconic bandleader Ian Anderson. And even if one isn’t familiar with the catalogue of the band it is a song that everybody should know. ‘Locomotive Breath’, from the legendary ‘Aqualung’ album, has been covered so many times by all types of bands.

The impressive journey of Jethro Tull started in 1967, a trip through all kinds of interpretations of rock music – from folk to progressive. After a period of inactivity followed a re-start in 2017 and suddenly there was also some hope for a new longplayer.

It was in 1999 when the band released with ‘J-Tull Dot Com’ an album that became the last one for a long time (not considering the Christmas album from 2003). Fans had to wait for decades to welcome a new longplayer from Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. The good thing is, the wait comes to an end on January 28th, 2022.

23 years after having unleashed ‘J-Tull Dot Com’, Jethro Tull has with ‘The Zealot Gene’ a next record ready for getting shipped to the record stores. In total twelve songs found a spot on the tracklist of this 46-minute-long record. With Anderson being the driving force of Jethro Tull, the line-up of the band faces new names since 2017. Next to the bandleader Joe Parrish-James (g), David Goodler (b), Scott Hammond (d) and John O’Hara (piano & key) are musicians representing Jethro Tull these days and in addition Florian Opahle (g) joined for working on the new album.

Flute and the voice of Ian Anderson, that is what many fans connect with the moniker Jethro Tull immediately and both trademarks are the key element on ‘The Zealot Gene’. Having mentioned this doesn’t mean that the new album is another ‘Thick As a Brick’-ish record. Anderson never stood still in one specific segment of rock music. New technology offered new possibilities and helped to get to sophisticated versions of first ideas and demos for the album and first songs have been completed even before the pandemic slowed down the world. Cancelled shows and tours left just one way for being creative, continue working on the new record.

Musically, the album starts with the iconic sound of a singing flute and the moment Anderson’s voice starts to shine there is no doubt that one is listening to Jethro Tull. It’s a rocking start into an album with a blistering solo along the way that shows with ‘Mine is the Mountain’ also a darker and calmer side. The title track is a nicely swinging tune while ‘Sad City Sisters’ reflect the spirit of folk music. A powerful drumbeat kicks off ‘The Betrayal of Joshua Kynde’, a song with a theatric expression.

‘The Zealot Gene’ is the Jethro Tull album Anderson and his bandmates has worked the longest. Melodies, harmonies and a unique sound is what Jethro Tull stood for and still stand for. With the risk of getting lost in detail, Anderson never lost the overview of his mission with the new album. The time was spent on evolvements and layers that help the songs without making them complex and hard to follow. ‘The Zealot Gene’ is the anticipated next longplayer from Jethro Tull and it certainly lives up to expectation.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Mrs Tibbets
  2. Jacob’s Tales
  3. Mine Is The Mountain
  4. The Zealot Gene
  5. Shoshana Sleeping
  6. Sad City Sisters
  7. Barren Beth, Wild Desert John
  8. The Betrayal Of Joshua Kynde
  9. Where Did Saturday Go?
  10. Three Loves, Three
  11. In Brief Visitation
  12. The Fisherman Of Ephesus

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: January 28th, 2022

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