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Zierler - 'ESC' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/64/65/b7/Zierler-ESC-46-1457900287.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 13, 2016    
 
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Repeated listening does bring certain satisfaction and fans of Symphonic Progressive Metal will find plenty to enjoy.

Finn Zierler is a Danish keyboardist and song-writer who used to be in Twilight and then Beyond Twilight. 'ESC' is his first album in almost ten years and the first release under the Zierler moniker. The album which took two years to complete features eleven tracks and clocks in at over seventy minutes.

'ESC' features Texan vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Beyond Twlight, Adagio and Darkology), Swedish lead guitarist Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry and Kaipa), Norwegian bassist/vocalist Truls Haugen (Insense and Circus Maximus) and Texan drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Fates Warning, Halford and Riot).

The long player is extremely dark in places and walks a fine line between genius and insanity. There are multi-layered Progressive Metal parts mixed with majestic orchestral sections; there is certainly nothing here that is predictable or boring!

Zierler stated that he wanted to make a record which was 100% uncompromising in every way and he has certainly succeeded. Opener 'A New Beginning' is a heavy, brutal number wrapped in piano and keyboard but not enough to drown out the guitars. 'Aggrezzor' is full of Nilsson's Metallic riffing whilst Carpenter, in a matter of moments, sings in a melodic manner then screams and then "shouts" and it all fits in perfectly with the music. There are numerous time signature changes and 'Darkness Delight' carries on in the same vein; one moment Metallic, then Symphonic and all of a sudden there are quiet piano parts.

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Queen, Robby Valentine and Dream Theater are obvious influences, 'Dark To The Bone' even pays a nod to Devin Townsend; however, the album has its own style. 'Evil Spirit' is moody with Carpenter coming across particularly brooding and menacing, 'Married To The Cause' again mixes melody with darker Symphonic sections and 'No Chorus' is relentless and... well, has no chorus! 'Rainheart' has horror maestro John Carpenter's signature theme from Halloween running throughout surrounded by more Metallic riffing and constant time changes.

Repeated listening does bring certain satisfaction and fans of Symphonic Progressive Metal will find plenty to enjoy. The main struggle for me was the vocal style of Carpenter; when he sings in a melodic fashion, the songs sound much more accessible but there is too much "shouting" and this gives the album a much harsher feel which many fans may struggle with.

Zierler, and more specifically the man himself, is certainly doing things his own way and definitely not taking any prisoners.

Az Chaudhry

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