Zonaria - The Cancer Empire
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (45:11)
Release year: 2008
Zonaria, Century Media
Reviewed by Khelek

Zonaria is a newer melodeath band, having been formed in 2003 and releasing their first album, Infamy And The Breed, in 2007. This is the band's followup to that album, and I was expecting something really great from this young band that clearly has so much potential. Unfortunately my musical hopes were dashed by this ultimately unoriginal piece of melodic death regurgitation. I will expand on this after I describe what is going on in this album musically.

The first thing I heard when I put this album on was a symphonic intro to the first track, Slaughter Is Passion. I am not against these types of things, but it did strike me as somewhat out of place. Then the heavy, melodic guitars and double bass drumming come in, accompanied by the growled vocals of Simon Berglund. The music is fast and furious and immediately I believe this is going to be a great album. It is not a great song, but sill a solid start to the album. Then the second track, Praise The Eradication, comes on and I hear another symphonic intro. Now I think it's getting a little old. This song takes off almost exactly the same way as the first one, except now there are some distorted clean vocals thrown into the mix, which fit the music but are at the same time a bit annoying. The third track loses the symphonic intro, but utilizes the same distorted clean vocals and some weird synth-like sounds. There is nothing musically that different from the first two tracks. In fact if you asked me right now, after listening to the album several time, I probably would not be able to tell you which song is which if I did not hear the intros. The next song, Contra Mundum, starts out with some melodic guitar and then comes in with the double bass and heavy guitars again, with some weird chanting in the background. This song seems to be more of a slower take on the band's sound, but unfortunately it all still sounds very similar to the previous three tracks on the album. Now I suddenly realize where I've heard this type of music before. The distorted vocals and the use of symphonic elements remind me of something that might have been found on Dimmu Borgir's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia! In fact most of what I hear on this album can be attributed to other bands. The only two songs that I hear any real originality on are the final two tracks, Humanity vs Sanity and The Icon And The Faceless. After giving this album a few more listens, I was even more disappointed by this apparent lack of originality. The vocal and instrumental talents presented by this band appear to be in no short supply, however they are not utilized very much. I rarely hear anything that is technically impressive or innovative. Now there would be nothing wrong with that if the songwriting made up for it, but unfortunately it does not. The music that I hear on this album just does not sound original or inspired. It sounds like a mix of melodic death and symphonic black metal elements thrown together haphazardly. I almost feel as if the band sat down and said, "Hey, let's take all the popular albums in these two genres and mix their sounds together, people will HAVE to like that!" Sure I could be completely wrong, but that is what it sounds like in my opinion.

I really liked some of the songs on Infamy And The Breed. It was by no means a great album, but it was very good for a debut album by a young band and it showed that these guys had a lot of potential. After they were signed to Century Media and I heard they were recording their next release with the famous Fredrik Nordstrom I thought to myself, this album is going to be amazing! As you can probably tell by now, I am very disappointed. I did not expect the band to go in this direction at all. I feel this is a waste of their talent, regurgitating other band's sounds and only adding their own unique style very rarely. I have to say that this is not a terrible album, it is pretty solid in both the musicianship and production areas and I could even get into one or two tracks, but overall it just sounded bland for the aforementioned reasons. Only time will tell if Zonaria can break out of this slump and write something really original and great. I sincerely hope that they do.

Killing Songs :
If you like one, you will probably like them all
Khelek quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Zonaria that we have reviewed:
Zonaria - Arrival Of The Red Sun reviewed by Khelek and quoted 68 / 100
Zonaria - Infamy and the Breed reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Zonaria - Rendered in Vain reviewed by Al and quoted no quote
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