Band Name - Zemial
Genre - Black Metal
Label - Hels Headbangers Records
Release Date - October 31st, 2013
Line Up -
Archon Vorskaath - All instruments, Vocals
Guest Artists - The Dark, Vasilis Lagos, Brian Barrit, A
Fusion of genres is quite a popular trend in music now-a-days, and specially prominent in these attempts are rock/metal circles. But to be honest it is indeed a hard task to do perfectly or even quite impossible to really blend some awkward genres together. Zemial even tried to achieve something even much more ambitious here, they tried to blend two genres so much different than each other while incorporating elements from yet another. I am really quite glad to tell you that not only did they succeed in this task but also quite literally created an album that will be memorable to its listeners for a long time.
In among all its various regional movements "Greek Black Metal" scene have always been unique. The troupe of bands in this circle have always tried to be a bit different than others and is quite a few acclaimed acts such as Varathorn, Necromantia, Rotting Christ, Kawir etc. Zemial might not be among the top tiers of this scene but nevertheless are known as a formidable band. But with this release I think they finally tried to reach the heights they are actually capable of and quite frankly they have done a fine job at that.
The whole album is a beautiful mixture of progressive rock (yes progressive rock not metal) and black metal with trashy riff thrown in the mix for good measures. Although it is quite hard to imagine such a mixture of these two genres to be so satisfyingly good, Zemial achieved it with a brilliance that is commendable. One minute you are getting pounded in the head with old school trash riffs inspired by the early genre giants while Archon (vocals) screams out the lyrics in true black style, in the next minute you are being soothed with the emotional and 60-70's style breathe-taking guitar works. One minute you think nice black vocals and riffs was whats good about this album next you are pulled into a world of wonder and despair with haunting guitar and synth pieces of progressive goodness. That is how varied Zemial gets here and somehow it all blends with an almost perfect end product which is a testament to their creativity and love for music.
In the aspect of variety this album really has a lot to offer. There are short thrashy black tracks; one progressive instrumental piece which is very emotional; 2 ballads of 10+ minutes; and other pieces skillfully blending the genres. And amazingly nothing feels out of place but creates an altogether wholesome experience. One complain in this regard is the last track which is just 4 and a half minute of silence, which is completely needless in an otherwise almost perfect execution.
Vocals range from typical raspy blackish performance with occasional clean spoken verses and some even trying to be a bit 'operatic' attempt at black-metal style. Bass is one of the weaker aspects and never really does anything other than complement the guitar work. Guitar and synth work on the other hand is excellent throughout the album, there is excellent trash riffs in between typical black infused guitar work and also some prog inspired solos. Synthesizer reminds us quite fondly of the good old days of 70's with its space prog style and overall charisma. Drumming is also very nicely done with varying influence from all the respective genres and even beyond. On the whole the total package of music is so good at complementing each other, which is the real force behind making this album shine.
So through this effort Zemial proves that so much can be achieved through rightful attempt at genre fusion no matter how unlikely it seems before trying and 'Archon' really proves himself to be an artist of some caliber. This album is sadly not getting even 1% of the attention it truly deserves, this is not just something to listen to a couple of times but I can guarantee if someone gives this one a chance this is bound to stay with them for a long time indeed. This is highly recommended and kind of a timeless classic to be in the underground metal scene in this reviewers opinion.
Notable tracks - this album is one of the few where almost everything works perfectly and every track can be deemed notable, well except obviously the last one, and the 2 ballads and the instrumental piece might be slightly better than the rest.
Overall Score -
9 out of 10.
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