Points for originality must definitely be given to the UK band of Zonei, a band that has picked up the styles of black metal and industrial/EBM and squished them together with varying results. Results that range from interesting to weird to downright silly, their self-titled album is being distributed in Europe and the UK by Shell Shock and is just now reaching our side of the pond with help from US Exporter Backs. Zonei are made up of Visage on vocals, Kivistik on guitars and Morgana on drums/keys. Let's take a listen to the music now, yes?
Opening with the windy Intro (Epapsychidion), Zonei's debut suddenly breaks into a guitar thrashing Bridges Burn. Growl blargy vocals included, Bridges Burn is an industrial style Ministry-ish track with heavy guitars and simple beats. Fairly monotonous after a while, the solo-style guitar that joins the fray is quite good. Jumping to track 5, Carnival of Decay, this one is faster paced with a more synthetic sounding guitar riff making up most of the track. Some subtle keyboard melodies slide in and out beneath them during vocal breaks. My main concern here however is the synth horn/guitar type sound that winds behind on occasion, both at the opening and later. This melody adds a bit of silliness to the song. The very bass vocals are difficult to understand due to their black metal spooky growling style.
The track after this is Shiva, which opens with cliché explosive sounds, but breaks into an interesting metal-industrial hybrid with a fast backbeat and interesting synth chords, but the vocals are again the growling style again that's difficult to understand and almost screamed at this juncture. "When Shiva" repeated over and over and over again begs me to want to scream "WHEN SHIVA WHAT?!?!?!" over and over back. Finally they tell you. "When Shiva comes." You mean that's it? I expected her to do something cool after all that hype.
Like I said, I must give points to Zonei for their originality. The combination of black metal and industrial/EBM styles that they attempt is something new I haven't heard before. But the problem mostly is the vocals are too blargy and doggishly growled, the guitar riffs aren't switched up enough and become droning and the backbeat rhythms are too simplistic and almost never change. There's just so much more that could have been done here. It requires a lot of reworking and remixing - needs to be given more changes, more complication and more life.
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