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Reviews

Zonaria: Arrival of the red sun

04/09/12  ||  BamaHammer

I love surprises. When it comes to 2012’s harvest of new album fodder, Zonaria’s “Arrival of the red sun” has been one of the more impressive to date. Boasting a typically fantastic cover art piece by the great Pär Olofsson, who seems to be “Dan Seagrave 2.0” these days, and a rock-solid production to match, Zonaria has graced us with an well-written swift kick to the hind parts of everything we’ve come to accept as melodic death metal.

When I hear the term “Melodic Death Metal”, my mind generally wraps itself around something like In Flames whether I want it to or not. That’s just how it is. While I do, in fact, dig In Flames (primarily their more recent material) and that “Gothenburg sound” they apparently helped pioneer, Zonaria really sound nothing like them. They’ve got a lot more in common with the darker side of that sub-subgenre and even spice things up with a few subtle blackened influences. In all honesty, this is really just very good death metal with some nice melodic moments interspersed within it.

First of all, the album as a whole is a very glossy, well-formulated package. Of course, as mentioned before, the Pär Olofsson cover is stunning, and the production on “Arrival of the red sun” is every bit as flashy and tasty. Every gleaming riff and massive programmed piece of electronic orchestration is crystal clear and brilliantly engineered. Overall, this is one of the more impressive sounding albums I’ve heard this year or any year. It’s that good.

While the ideas here aren’t going to raise the bar and set any new death metal standards by any means, this album is quite good. The best performance on the record easily goes to Simon Berglund’s vocals. He definitely possesses some legitimately intimidating power behind his growls and even pulls off a convincing “poor man’s Jörgen Sandström” at times when it’s needed. His words are loud, obnoxious, and prominently understandable at all times on here.

As for the rest of the band, the work on the guitars, bass, and drums are really quite pedestrian. Riffs are your standard down-tuned modern Swedish death metal riffs. You could set your watch by the drumming, but there’s not really any moments of wonder in that department either. And as for the bass, I guess it’s underneath somewhere. I know that doesn’t sound too convincing, but this album as a whole is actually a lot greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of penmanship and delivery here makes for a terrific album of what I guess could be called modernized melodic death metal. If you’re looking for something new with a good sense of adventure into the realms of melodic brutality, give Zonaria a few spins.

8

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Listenable
  • Website: www.zonaria.com
  • Band
  • Simon Berglund: vocals, guitars
  • Emil Nyström: guitars
  • Max Malmer: bass
  • Emanuel “Cebbe” Isaksson: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Arrival of the Red Sun
  • 02. Silent Holocaust
  • 03. Gunpoint Salvation
  • 04. Liberation Zero
  • 05. The Blood That Must Be Paid
  • 06. Desert Storms
  • 07. A Lullaby to Those Still Alive
  • 08. Full Spectrum Dominance
  • 09. My Vengeance Remains
  • 10. Face My Justice