Zeromancer - ZZYZX
Reviewed by Andreas on 9th October 2003
Formed from the ashes of Norwegian legendary gothcore band, Seigmen, Zeromancer have now released three albums since their formation in 1999. While Seigmen were a bit on the gothy side of things, Zeromancer are more commercial, if you can call it that, and more industrial. With catchy tunes and a stage show like no other, they've conquered both Germany and the US.
ZZYZX is their third album, and is by far the most accomplished of their efforts. You can really hear the progress they've made from their first, hasty album, Clone Your Lover, through the sophomore effort, Eurotrash, to arrive at ZZYZX. Gentle melodies soak throughout the album, spiked by synths and heavy guitars. The choruses are also massive and uplifting. Songs like "Teenage Recoil" and "Hollywood" are perfect industrial pop rock dance hits, will probably be sung along to at many a gig this autumn. The massive sound of the songs, and in large, the rest of the album as well, makes for pleasant listening.
Just to make it even better, where other industrial rock bands fail, they succeed. Listen to your industrial records. How much variation is there on every one of them? Likely, not much. By song three, "Famous Last Words", you will understand why Zeromancer are better than 90% of their peers. "FLW", the first single off of the album, is gentle, poppy and absolutely gorgeous. Its melancholic piano, violins (supplied by the Oslo Symphony Orchestra) and really quite sad lyrics, makes it one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It's gentle defeat.
Yet another proof of this album's varied nature, is the fact that the following track, "Erotic Saints", can best be explained as the band's "1979". After that, mind, the easy tracks are over. "Idiot Music" has the definite industrial rock riff, heavy battering, punctuated by screaming and a massive chorus. The only problem with this, and really the rest of the songs, is that they're not as accessible as the first tracks on the album. You'll have to like this kind of music to enjoy this album, I think. Personally I love this album already, and I've had it less than a week. The only weak song on the album is "Stop the noise!" both in title and music. It's too repetitive. Other than that, all the songs are totally amazing, and it annoys me ever so much that I'll miss their upcoming tour.
On the technical side of things, the album's production is flawless. The sound is warm and full. Which is only to be expected of this band really, but maybe not from the genre they're in. Many of the industrial records I own are so tinny-sounding, it's always such a shame when that happens. With electro-stuff you expect the bass to boom and the guitars (if any) to rip, and they certainly do on ZZYZX, and as you know, that is always a good thing.
On the down side, Zeromancer might be a bit of a handful for people not entirely into the whole industrial scene, but may also work as a good introduction to the very same genre. Zeromancer are slightly softer than other industrial bands, but in my opinion they are indeed one of the best.
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