Zonaria - Arrival Of The Red Sun
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (40:07)
Release year: 2012
Zonaria, Century Media
Reviewed by Khelek

Ah Zonaria, the young band that I once could see becoming a rising star in the melodeath scene. Infamy and the Breed was an excellent debut from the Swedish melodeath group and an album that I continued listening to for years. Unfortunately their second attempt The Cancer Empire did not strike me as something nearly as good as the debut, while it was well-produced and overall technically well done, there was something missing, some spark of genuine emotion and originality that simply was not there. Four years later and the guys are back with their third full-length Arrival Of The Red Sun. I had hopes that they would return to their original ideals and energy, and while this is a slight step up from their previous effort, it once again pales in comparison to the band's debut as well as the rest of the top-level players in the melodeath game today.

The title track starts the album off and it isn't bad; it has this sort of epic-ness to it right from the opening melodic guitar lead. This is also due to the subtle symphonic elements and big melodies created by the heavy guitar riffs. However, I'm still not big on frontman Simon Berglund's somewhat one-dimensional vocal performance, it simply gets boring after a while, but I really tried to overlook this as I continued listening. Liberation Zero catches my attention with its fast guitar lead and aggressive energy and fortunately this song does not let up throughout its entire duration. The guitar work is very tight, and the vocals are more varied than usual. If this album were full of songs of this quality, I would certainly want to listen to it a lot more. Unfortunately the following track The Blood That Must Be Paid is one of the weakest ones on the album in my opinion, and this is where the album really starts losing me. The riffs are completely unoriginal and repetitive, the vocals are monotonous, and the overall melody is something that has simply been done too many times in this genre by everyone from Arch Enemy to God Dethroned. Desert Storms has the potential to be a great song with its melodic and somewhat slower intro, but it opens into another repetitive set of riffs that simply bore me. The only other song that made any lasting impression on me is My Vengeance Remains with its symphonic intro and excellent use of keyboards throughout. The riffs here are also quite a bit more varied than elsewhere on the album and the interludes, instead of being annoying, actually manage to create a sense of tension. I found myself not wanting the song to end.

I can definitely see many songs on this album being popular when played live. Crowds love good breakdown riffs and heavy, melodic choruses, especially in this genre. However, in terms of listening to this as an album, the emotion and energy just isn't there most of the time. It feels repetitive and tired, and personally I would much rather listen to the lastest Nightrage or Scar Symmetry. I think these guys need to remember that no matter how good the production and how well they can play their instruments, it does not necessarily make their music interesting. I'm sure they get some good crowd response when they play live, and if that's their only goal then they have done their jobs quite well.

However, Zonaria have been around the block a few times, and they know what's out there, so it pains me to hear them using their obvious talent to create something this safe, this standard, this...dumbed-down. Unfortunately these guys simply have not been able to shape their ideas into a cohesive and interesting album, which is a real shame. With all of that being said, I do think that this album is a bit better than 2008's The Cancer Empire, which I found to be wholly forgettable. Zonaria show here that they do still have what it takes to be a truly great melodeath band, in my opinion they simply need to focus on creating something more complex, and that hasn't already been heard a thousand times in this genre, assuming of course that they want serious melodeath aficionados like myself to take an interest in their music.

Killing Songs :
Arrival Of The Red Sun, Liberation Zero, My Vengeance Remains
Khelek quoted 68 / 100
Other albums by Zonaria that we have reviewed:
Zonaria - The Cancer Empire reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 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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