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Nothing new under the black sun - 73%

Lane, June 13th, 2012

Pivotal Rockordings have released two albums from bands who are very In Flames -influenced (sadly, the new style...). Zonaria up the ante in heaviness and metal content, as this Swedish newcomer band pays respect for the likes of their country mates Hypocrisy and Scar Symmetry.

I inserted the CD into my computer's CD player and it had the shuffle on, so the first bit of Zonaria I heard was the song 'Attending Annihilation'. My first thought was "whoa, this is pure Scar Symmetry rip-off!" But no wonder, as the song features Christian Älvestam of the band in question performing the clean vocals. But let's go back to the beginning right now. 'Infamy' is an intro with lyrics taken from by Jean-Baptiste Molière's "Misanthrope". That's what Zonaria preach about: hatred towards mankind and its stupid inventions, e.g. religions and wars they've caused. And will cause. Zonaria's metal is brutal yet at times filled with great melodies. Ill-omened riffs are backed by epic, sweeping synthesizer work. Another bands this reminds me of is fantastic Demonoid and to some extenct, Old Man's Child. The music is very rhythmical, but not in vein of modern In Flames' jump-rock, no, but the drums are just everywhere! Compositions work very well, although album could be a tad shorter, because the variety isn't that big during these 46+ minutes.

The band performs in quite a maniacal way, as drums get bashed, strings get pulled off and throat gets mangled (vocals are in vein of Hypocrisy and Dimmu Borgir). Guys are very skilled with their instruments, and this is quite a pyrotechnic display. The Per Nilsson and Jonas Kjellgren recording and mixing job is competent, as Zonaria sound brutal yet smaller details can be heard, too.

The cover artwork is typical computer work of these days, which sadly contains zero uniqueness. The music inside is a mixture of many bands, but to Zonaria's credit, they've made it work like hell. More than just a promising debut full-length album filled with fine sonics and energetic performances. If Swedish death metal with modern tinge is your choice of aural drug, why not give Zonaria a spin.

(originally written for in 2007)