Press - Reviews
07th May 2008
Zoom Code review, Hard Wired

Zoom Code
CD, My Kingdom Music, 2008

This is the fourth album by metal group ThanatoSchizO, though to categorise the band as merely 'metal' does them a diservice. Sure, there are growly male vocals and angelic female singing, but there is more to the band than just heavy guitar riffing. There's a prog element, a la The Gathering's Mandylion album, which shows how you just have to think a little differently to produce something cool and unusual.

Opening song "Thick 'n' Blurry" does conform to the metal template, but sonorous keyboards give the song extra depth. The enigmatically titled "L" takes a delightfully avant-garde turn during a violin solo which evokes travels in distant desert lands. This sort of diversion into a Dead Can Dance-esque world is unexpected and thrilling, when the oasis of calm is disturbed by the waves of guitar it is delightful thing to behold. "Hereafter Path" features male/female-led Gothic Metal, with addition of an concertina. Now usually the only place I want to hear such an instrument is on-board a pirate ship, but its use pulls the song into a new and interesting shape. The shape gets even more intriguing when the hard rocking guitars are tethered for while, before they escape and run riot again. By the end of this song singer Eduardo has earned the manly scream he emits.

"(Un)bearable Certainty" starts in an experimental trip-hop style, similar to the quieter moments of Anneke Van Giersberg-era The Gathering. There is some gentle elegaic guitar and strange ambient noises. When the song explodes it is all the more effective for the calm that came before the storm. The words are gnomic: "Layers of symbolism entwined/Complete the insidious enigma." The band draw from a wide palette of sounds, which constantly surprises the listener, keeping interest levels high. "Pleasure Pursuit" has a distorted guitar that echoes forlornly. There's more vocal roaring, but you never get the idea that this is the only aural pursuit Eduardo can offer. Things build to a tumultuous climax, during which one of the band members appears to log on to the internet. Couldn't he have waited until the end of the song? I know it's over five minutes long but he can't be that desperate to check his myspace account surely?

"The Shift" is a ambient walk in an underground sewer. At just over a minute it's more of a fragment than a real song, but it gives the listener a brief respite with which to refresh one's palate. Musical motifs are reprised in the next song "Last Of The Few", so it's worth making the journey. Singer Patricia and Eduardo are the focus, while the instruments call up a whirlwind of noise. "Pale Blue Perishes" has a Porcupine Tree-feeling, with prog-rock stylings, including tempo changes. "Pervasive Healing" is a collision between the metal side of the band and the atmospheric, which seeks to conjure images of the Mystic Orient. This is one place where the two don't mesh seamlessly, but you've to to applaud the band's willingness to experiment. When the latter style takes over for a interlude the song is more successful.

"Nothing As It Seems" sees Educado roaring over Metallica-heavy guitars. At least Patricia's angelic singing provides a balance to this belching from the underworld. String-like synthesisers add depth. "Awareness" starts in a languid manner, with a sparse Cure-like guitar over some drums. There's a jazzy edge as Patricia improvises noises over the music. It's not quite scat singing, but it might as well be as there's a saxophone added to the mix. It's more a curiosity than a real song, but provides an interesting way to leave the listener. I just hope the band don't do a half hour version in their live set.

When a band demonstrate the willingness to experiment it's inevitable that they won't hit the target everytime. Yet, this album has more hits and misses. The Gothic Metal genre is so crowded a band needs to do something innovative with the genre to stand out. That's is where ThanatoSchizO come in. [7,5/10]

Stuart Moses
5 CDs + 1 EP + T-shirt
€50.00 / $65.00