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Biography : Zonata

In the last few years, some up-and-coming heavy metal bands from Scandinavia have truly made some dramatic steps forward in the worldwide scene, causing some of the older and "established" bands to be glancing nervously over their shoulder at this growing "new generation". Sweden's Zonata definitely belong to that notorious group of acts: Getting together in 1998, Zonata signed a worldwide deal to Century Media Records shortly after unleashing their acclaimed demo MCD "The Copenhagen tapes" shortly before creating their debut album "Tunes of steel" in 1999 at Germany's Stage One Studio with producer Andy Classen (Holy Moses, Tankard, etc.). This fresh and melodically powerful debut album, clearly inspired by acts like Helloween and Iron Maiden, granted the band some good media interest throughout Europe and Japan (with JVC Records being their label partner over there). With the burgeoning wave of young Metal artists participating in the return to vintage, melodic heavy metal, some quite talented bands tend to get overlooked and underrated. Therefore Zonata made sure to keep songwriting their focal point and evidently progressed step by step as a band. Without wasting any more time, these young musicians started working on their sophomore album "Reality" (2001), which introduced a more symphonic and at the same time more dynamic version to their approach. The bigger and more orchestral use of leading keyboards as well majestic vocal arrangements gave a more bombastic edge to this album, being crowned by suitably atmospheric artwork courtesy of the legendary Derek Riggs (Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray and also Stratovarius).

After playing national support shows for bands such as Nocturnal Rites, Stratovarius, Crystal Eyes, Lost Horizon or Therion, Zonata returned to Studio Underground in Västerås, Sweden (where they had previously also recorded "Reality") in Spring of 2002 to work on their new album "Buried alive". The Borås-based act added a new second guitarist, Niclas Karlsson (ex Conviction), to their line-up and wrote by far their most mature and inspired material to date: The pounding title-/ opening track pleasantly surprises the listener with an edge of Judas Priest trademarks, while thrilling songs like "Visions Of Sorrow" and "The Last Step" combine the band's own brand of Power Metal class with a heap of monumental Gamma Ray / Rhapsody elements. Some more classical influences in the tradition of Rainbow / Malmsteen occasionally shine through on "The Blade Of The Reaper" or "The Mourner's Tale". Zonata have come up with an impressive and addictive release which effortlessly combines the roots of aggressive Power Metal with a very punchy and contemporary setting. Their extremely skilled instrumental abilities are crowned with a catchy, furious vocal delivery intended to grab the attention of true metal fans - the legions of steel.. Cover artist Jan Meininghaus (Falconer, Brainstorm, Bolt Thrower, etc.) compliments "Buried alive" with an artwork perfectly suited to the enchanting concept of this timeless metal offering. The future for Power Metal should indeed look bright as long as bands like Zonata keep spawning albums of such high musical quality with its undeniable instant effect on the targeted Metal listener. Those who know, will agree…