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They want Infamy, but it's kind of mediocre - 70%

shatterzer0, May 24th, 2008

There seems to be something with the Pivotal Rockordings camp as they have an uncanny ear for greatness. As is witnessed again with another debut from yet another Swedish melodic death metal band. This time it is Umeå, Sweden's own Zonaria who step up to the plate to serve the helping. The album in and of itself was produced by Scar Symmetry mastermind Jonas Kjellgren and Per Nilson at Black Lounge Studio's, so you knew it was going to sound clean and very polished much like many newer melodic death metal albums have. Somewhere between the late 90's and early 2000's it seems Sweden traded in a more raw sound for more "americanized" production quality, which obviously turned off quite a few fans. Along with the production of the album being handled by supergroup Scar Symmetry, vocalist Christian Älvestam also makes a guest appearance on the record, adding a melodic chorus section to the song "Attending Annihiliation."

None the less, this album gets going from the beginning, with the intro, "Infamy." About 35 seconds into the intro, the sound of "click, click" can be heard, as in essence a gun is being loaded, and boy do they ever shoot a bullet into the heart of what has become a kind of stale genre. Kicking it into full gear immediately this quartet work very tight, almost like they have been doing this for several years. Granted singer Simon Berglund has been atleast doing Zonaria since 2001 when he was 14 and the rest of the band are all in their early 20's too, they just have that feel of a band that has put out atleast 8 or 9 records already. The use of almost symphonic death metal stylings brings an atmosphere to the album that is very fitting to the music. With it's gunshot like double bass usage, screams, clean vocals and of course death growls, the album just brings a slab of melodic death that has been missing in the genre. There is nothing really "catchy" with this album, although some purists may beg to differ, who knows.

Infamy and the Breed is a great outing by four kids from Sweden who are trying to make a mark on the world and music industry at the same time and with this album, I feel they cement themselves as a powerhouse in a genre that needs a fresh breath of air. Perhaps Pivotal Rockordings realized that and signed all these bands, or maybe it was dumb luck. Either way Zonaria make it known that they are here to brutalize your ears and this album is definitely a step in the right direction.