Human Zoo


Another day brings another delve into the thrash metal vaults from my home shores. Now this is (in my opinion anyway) a proper hidden gem. I’d even hazard a guess that many thrashers post the mid 90’s will be unaware of this band. Some sort of remastered retrospective would be a great addition to my pile of compact discs. 

Zeitgeist were a thrash band – obviously as its a thrash week! – from the Liverpool area. They released three demo tapes between 1988 and 1990. I had the last two, Mindstorm and Blacklist, which I would have discovered through the pages of Metal Forces magazine. And now you know as much as I do. They never released an album and as far as I’m aware, they never morphed into another band to keep up with trends. 

What I could call my demo days – when bands released demonstration tracks on cassette tapes, usually with a black and white xeroxed cover, of if they were really trying to impress a colour cover. I used to have a steady flow of packets dropping through my parents letter box and the majority sourced through Metal Forces. 

We had Metal Hammer and Kerrang! (which was bi-weekly rather than weekly) back in the day, but Metal Forces was more for the fans of the thrash scene and fledgling death metal scene. Having said that though Poison, Def Leppard, Mr Big and others often got featured, but it was mainly the heavy end of the spectrum.  There was a fold out poster in every issue, one side had a band on and the other was just a plethora of addresses. I spent so much time scouring the small ads with a biro looking for tape traders, pen pals and things I could spend my meagre paper round money on. I’ll reiterate yet again, it’s so much easier 29 years later on, but that was much more fun and created some suspense and anticipation as to what would arrive, even then there were still the odd unscrupulous band or postal worker so returns weren’t always 100% guaranteed. I was introduced to so many bands via the tape trading network that I still listen to today. 

My drawers full of tapes that have been long lost to a landfill somewhere over time, mainly by my parents hands. A few years back I was at a loose end and trawling through the pages of the online Encyclopaedia Metallum and came across the familiar name of Zeitgeist. Thankfully an almost complete pair of demos have been uploaded to YouTube and SoundCloud and I’ve been able to add them digitally to my collection. 

The author of the thrash metal book that is in its early stages is Ian Glasper who I have known through his old band Stampin’ Ground for almost two decades. He was after suggestions beyond the mainstream bands to hunt down for interviews and I suggested these Liverpudlians to him. Hopefully he can track down a member after so long and get their words into print. 

Human Zoo is the lead off track from their second tape Mindstorm from 1989. The sound quality isn’t as polished as the latest album by Testament for example, but it is nearly three decades old and recorded on a minuscule budget, even quite possibly on a ghetto blaster in their rehearsal space and dubbed by hand late into the evening.