Zonaria - The Cancer Empire review
|Album:||The Cancer Empire|
|Release date:||October 2008|
01. Slaughter Is Passion
02. Praise The Eradication
03. Crowning King Cancer
04. Contra Mundum
05. Termination Process
06. At War With The Inferior
07. From The Abysmal Womb
08. Damnation Dressed In Flesh
09. Humanity Vs Sanity
10. The Icon And The Faceless
11. Mad World [Tears For Fears cover] [US digital bonus]
Melodic death metal is a dead horse, one which practically every Swedish band is continuously beating. Gone are the days when In Flames and At the Gates were producing groundbreaking material, which of course eventually led to hundreds of bands following in their footsteps. Zonaria is one such band, playing under the guidance of Century Media Records, a label that has left me with the bitter taste of disappointment for many years.
Zonaria try to break through the barriers of a cliché sound, but they forgot to bring something new to the table: they do not enhance the stability of the genre any further. Simon Berglund is a decent enough vocalist/guitarist, despite being hindered by a "too-tight" production, but his fellow musicians seem to have no feeling for the music. An album needs some form of strength beyond its aggressive guitar riffs and nonchalant blastbeats, and The Cancer Empire falls short in this area.
Generic drum work cannot carry an album on its own, as it leaves a blank feeling in the listener, and when the drums aren't supported by any decent melodies, the music becomes something paradoxical: it isn't crushing or weak, it isn't fast or slow, it isn't technical or sloppy -- it's just music. Perhaps the average listener will find their sound better than mediocre, perhaps slightly more aggressive than usual melodic death metal, yet there are far too many holes in the floor for this band to continue standing on. In an era where this genre is buoyed by bands like Amon Amarth, Mercenary, and Hollenthon, bottom-dwellers need to tap into their imagination and let it carry over into their songwriting.
Of course one cannot judge this band without taking their age into consideration: Berglund and Emil Nyström are each just 22 years old. They are the new kids on the block, respecting their roots, honoring influential bands such as Hypocrisy and Arch Enemy, but they need to find their own sound. Mind you, their age is vital in terms of how one can judge this sophomore slump. Looking ahead, there is more than enough time for each member to mature musically. However, if this album is any indication of their future, I would say Zonaria are going to be eaten alive in the scene. If they retrace their steps and build on their debut, this band will eventually become a tour de force.
For achieving their personal goal of combining aggression and melody, Zonaria have created a successful album in The Cancer Empire. Yet, they have not created anything new or outstanding. This has all been done before, and many steps need to be taken so ensure the band do not fall into a comfortability with their current style. The first step begins with seeking out new production management, which would benefit the overall realism of the vocals as they are often reminiscent of the computer-generated effects heard in Dimmu Borgir. The members need to do some soul-searching before jumping into a third album.
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| Until the End
| Troy Killjoy
| Troy Killjoy
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