Zonaria - Infamy and the Breed
Pivotal Rockordings
Melodic Blackened Death Metal
12 songs (46'00")
Release year: 2007
Zonaria, Pivotal Rockordings
Reviewed by Alex

Pivotal Rockordings is a young American label not afraid to bring to our attention the style of metal which, after being raised to almost an iconic status, many now feel almost obligated to vilify for everything that may be wrong with extreme metal today. I still do not quite understand why the word “Gothenburg” is a stand-in for “ordinary”, or worse yet “pathetic” and “unworthy”. With their previous releases by Sonic Syndicate and Blinded Colony, the label scratched onto the surface of Gothenburg style and its offshoots, from a sweeter sound (Sonic Syndicate) to metalcore (Blinded Colony). Yet I believe Zonaria is the label’s strongest signing to date, with Infamy and the Bread being the third and, so far, the best label title.

I knew it that if my hero Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity) finds a lot to like about Zonaria so would I. The combination of bashing catchy thrash, cool harmonies, blackened influences, pervasive keyboards and mini-Shagrath vocals (by the band’s leader, guitarist and main composer Simon Berglund) is infectious. You will not get a bland going-through-the-motions feeling, clean vocals (well, maybe very little) and whiny choruses with Zonaria. Instead, the band suffers the major case of downtunage, making everything sound darker, much more malevolent and sinister than your average Gothenburg garb.

Sure, the band repeats itself from The Last Endeavour to Pandemic Assault to Evolution Overdose, but in a way you certainly don’t mind listening to another ominous melody. These young dudes (many of them were born after I graduated high school) mean business ever since the gun gets cocked on the intro Infamy. They may borrow a melody or two (Moscow Nights in the breakdown of The Last Endeavour), but the way they weave dark harmony into the music (The Armageddon Anthem) may make both Susperia and Behemoth fans take notice. With Zonaria there is only one step from apocalyptic to melodic, or even less than that between a gloomy flowing melody, frantic jackhammering and quick At The Gates beat (Rendered in Vain). Their music is much more a beehive disturbed by a muzzle of a machine gun (Descend into Chaos), even though in places Zonaria does sound like Zonata (pun intended), when they try to execute a slightly belated tempo shift (The Black Omen). Everything ends with a very honorable closure, ominous and melodic Everything is Wasteland, fully representative of the rest of the album, flying with the beat and brimming with future potential.

Per Nilsson and Jonas Kjellgren (both of Scar Symmetry) are certainly responsible for recording this three-dimensional wall of sound, balancing well vocals, synth lines and guitars, but almost ought to be threatened by the youngsters, seeing how Infamy and the Breed will be well received by the band’s own cohort of fans.

Trying to pick out my favorite tracks I found myself to be wanting to spin this album many more times, which is in and of itself a good sign, but also, as the time went by, the list of those favorites grew longer. Zonaria is well worthy of your attention, and Pivotal Rockordings would do well to hold on to this promising collective.

Killing Songs :
The Last Endeavour, Rendered in Vain, Descend into Chaos, Everything is Wasteland
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Zonaria that we have reviewed:
Zonaria - Arrival Of The Red Sun reviewed by Khelek and quoted 68 / 100
Zonaria - The Cancer Empire reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 100
Zonaria - Rendered in Vain reviewed by Al and quoted no quote
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