There's one main question that intertwines itself into the majority of metal reviews. The answer to it can decide the difference between an enjoyable band and a revolutionary one. It's a heavily argued topic, and can cause outfits to lose potential fans depending on the answer. This defining question is: Does this bring anything new to the table?
So, does Zonaria
's new album, 'Arrival
of the Red
Sun' introduce anything new? Well, I wouldn't say so. The average metalhead has usually heard a fair share of the sound that this record presents. 'Arrival
of the Red
Sun' serves a heaping plate of melodic death metal with whirling symphonies on the side. Along with a touch of black metal and a pinch of electronic effects. Clearly, this has been done before. However, on this kind of album, execution is the key, and Zonaria
have never been operating better.
I wasn't sure that Zonaria
would be able to top 'The Cancer Empire
', but the quintet from Sweden have managed to pull it off. 'Arrival
of the Red
Sun' steps up Zonaria
's sound quite a bit. It's better written, better performed, and more thought-out than any previous attempt. The leads are more interesting, each chord seems as it were placed by angels, and the low end is refreshingly utilized to a larger capacity than expected.
Of course, due to the familiarity in the sound, there are several moments where this album can sound boring, such as much of 'Full Spectrum Dominance
'. In these moments, all seems to fade in a whirlwind of double bass, dull orchestral progressions, and careless growls.
Another thing, would it kill Zonaria
to add some more variety to the vocals? The majority of the album is chock-full of growls. There are times when the tracks are graced with double-layered vocals, higher screams, or even the occasional clean unfortunately buried under 6 feet of solid drumming. But it's just not enough. Don't get me wrong, Simon Berglund has a good low, but the incredible highs, or even the cleans, are just not used the way they should and could be.
Now, for the pros of the album. Although 'Arrival
of the Red
Sun' isn't very experimental, it is satisfyingly diverse within itself. On 'Gunpoint Salvation
', chugging guitars collide with progressing drums to create an energizing and heavy-as-fuck buildup until we are greeted with an electronic effect, which oddly sounds like something out of a Transformers movie, and subsequently the song explodes into a massive double-bass frenzy. On the other hand, we have the track 'A Lullaby
To Those Still Alive
', which begins with a calm set of droning, foreboding, slowly plucked notes, and soon evolves into a galloping palm-muted dream, then a sandstorm of searing leads and double-bass that evolves into an epic titan of a melody, symphony and all.
All in all, Zonaria
have put out a solid record. It's not game changing, and it may get redundant at times, but it's still not a melodic death album to be missed, especially if Hypocrisy
and Scar Symmetry
make you smile. I give it a 15/20. Those of you who have been waiting for this record, I don't think you'll be disappointed.