Jethro Tull – The Zealot Gene (Album Review)

Jethro Tull – The Zealot Gene (Album Review)

On January 28, 2022 the legendary British Rock band Jethro Tull released their 22nd studio album The Zealot Gene in collaboration with Inside Out Music.

Nearly five years in the making, it marks their first studio album since 2003’s The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, and their first of all original material since way back in 1999 when they put out J-Tull Dot Com. Thankfully this high-octane Grammy award-winning band was abruptly roused from dormancy by the turbulence of the societal and political eddies to reclaim their rightful place on the Rock-n-Roll throne.

As always, the dynamos behind Jethro Tull is the ever-versatile Lead Vocalist/Multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson. Joining him for this new ambitious effort is Florian Opahle on electric guitar, David Goodier on bass, John O’Hara on piano/keyboards/accordion/organ, Scott Hammond on the drums, while Joe Parrish-James additionally handles guitar work. 

Stretching their musical limbs to resuscitate their distinctive sound, Jethro Tull was able to amass enough momentum by which to propel themselves from the watery depths and launch themselves like a rocket straight up. As they shielded their eyes from the intensity of the sun’s rays, they glanced about searching for landmass with the songs that make up The Zealot Gene. Once spotted, Ian Anderson raised his magical flute to his lips and within a couple of airy and graceful notes the sea parted. Sound a bit dramatic? Well, it is a pretty dramatic musical adventure. 

All this said, this shooting star of an album has twelve incendiary tracks designed to jumpstart that zealot gene that lies dormant in the genome of humanity. The underlying message is that an individual should take a stand for what they truly believe in and never waver in the face of dissent. To be true to oneself and not a mirror image of the latest brainwashing commercial jingle. 

With so much to discuss, it would be difficult to breakdown each and every song featured on The Zealot Gene. That said, it is up to you to develop your own thoughts, but a few highlights should be highlighted. For example, the lyrics for the title-track are quite provocative and filled with phrases we should all think over more than once. Afterall, these days it is so hard to separate truth from fiction. To underscore the lyrical content, and making them more impactful, the music starts off with a booming marching beat that is blended with a foot-tapping folksy sound. 

Then there is “Mine Is the Mountain,” something that is undoubtedly an interpretation Exodus 20:4-7,30:7. This biblical passage delineates God’s expectations on being worshiped and the deleterious effects of not conforming to the rules. The track starts off slow, gradually building a surge of crashing melodic keyboards with a foaming spray of colorful flute toots. This is while strong vocals intertwine with the music to create an engaging mental visual.

With nimble fingers and controlled breathing Ian Anderson is a veritable Pied Piper. That in mind, The Zealot Gene is testament to how the band’s music is as relevant today as it was decades ago. It has gone through an evolutionary adaptation that has made it strong and lithe. And as stated, it would be impossible to breakdown each song, but other bold moments include “In Brief Visitation,” “The Fisherman of Ephesus,” as well as “Three Loves, Three.” Based on the caliber of all these songs Jethro Tull shows no signs of slowing down. The takeaway is do what you love to do and life becomes bright and joyful no matter what is going on all around. Stirring the soul and a must have in any musical collection, Cryptic Rock give The Zealot Gene 5 out of 5 stars.


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Jackie Knightowl
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