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   ZONATA
Buried Alive
2002
Century Media
http://www.zonata.nu

Buried Alive
rating: 3/5

1. Buried Alive
2. Visions Of Sorrow
3. The Last Step
4. Blade Of The Reaper
5. The Mourner's Tale
6. Unleashed
7. A Dark Chapter
8. In The Chamber
9. You Betrayer
10. Heroes Of The Universe
This is Zonata's third album and with this one they've gone from plain melodic power metal to a more symphonic and slightly progressive direction, but at the same time they're also leaning towards traditional heavy metal. The keyboards have taken a more dominant role in their outlet, but do not worry, the guitars have not been forgotten, and as it may not be correct to call their music "progressive metal" there certainly are some similarities for example to Symphony X but also to Gamma Ray. There are some hooks that aren't too obvious and one might not notice them on the first listen.

The production is very clear as all the instruments are in balance and occasionally even some strings have been attached to the mixture and all this makes the final result sound really massive and it indeed pushes you against the wall, although only a few songs have the "ultrafast-mode" switched on. They do have some really memorable and uplifting melodies, but there are no "instant hit"-type of songs on this album. And the fact that they aren't just a "catchy choruses and shredding solos" kind of power metal makes their approach richer and the album's versatility makes it last more than just a few listens. All the great melodies and riffs that leave you wanting more or scraping yourself from the wall, will be found after the album gets a few more spins in the player.

The singer Johannes Nyberg sounds a bit like Ralf Scheepers with some really shrill screams here and there which might sound annoying to some. The guitar playing is both technical wizardry and some emotional passages that give you a chance to take breath and prepare for the next double bass attack and the aforementioned keyboards add a somewhat majestic touch to the final outcome.

The only thing that bothers me is that at times this album gives a strange déjà-vu feeling of which I'm not sure whether it's a flashback to the 80's or to another band, but something just makes me feel a bit weary, almost like they don't manage to take full advantage of all the great elements they have in their music. But that's fortunately only occasional.

submitted by Aleksi 01.01.2003

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