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ZZYZX Review

by Jason MacNeil

If you were to place Zeromancer in a niche, you might envision a harder, more aggressive Savage Garden or Joy of Electric. Lead singer Alex Moklebust takes songs such as "Teenage Recoil" to radio-friendly, studio-polished heights thanks to the harder guitar hook and breezy singalong chorus. The synthesized touches à la Depeche Mode also give the song some depth during the bridge portion. The intensity and quality rises during the crunchy and infectious "Hollywood," with its soaring vocals and lovely Brit-like delivery. A softer melody brings U2 or the Calling to mind on the alluring and engaging "Famous Last Words," despite the orchestral touches that seep in. One definite positive for Zeromancer is how, unlike bands like Orgy, they are able to carry a song from start to finish, especially on the sugar-coated "Erotic Saints" that recalls an early new wave structure perfect for O.M.D.. One notable difference is the Trent Reznor page taken on the industrial tone of "Idiot Music," which could have been taken from The Downward Spiral. After the driving rocker "Stop the Noise!," Zeromancer returns to their safety zone with the hard synth/ textured pop on "Feed You With a Kiss." The summery shimmer of "Blood Music" is also hard to resist but harder to be deemed memorable. Drummer Noralf Ronthi and guitarist Chris Schleyer both shine during the edgier and grittier track "Mosquito Coil." Two bonus tracks don't forge into new territory although "New Madonna" sounds somewhat like Rialto. And the closing Depeche Mode-circa-"Enjoy the Silence" similarity for "Gone to Your Head" isn't strong enough overall. It's a record that is generally good but lacking the one high point that would give it a longer shelf life.

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