Press - Reviews
31st December 2008
Zoom Code review, Thoughts of Metal

Zoom Code
CD, My Kingdom Music, 2008

THANATOSCHIZO is Portugese band that saw the light of day sometime in 1998. Working hard on the launch of their career, the band underwent changes in style and line-up. The detailed text/overview can be read on the band's MySpace page. Apparently the band took inspiration from Thrash, Black, Death and even Doom Metal, but a lot of that has vanished with the new release, "Zoom Code", which was released on the 11th of April through My Kingdom Music. THANATOSCHIZO previously put out "Schizo Level" (2001), "InsomniousNightLift" (2003) and "Turbulence" in 2004.

"Zoom Code" is the first album that presents THANATOSCHIZO to me and it took me a few listens to fully get into the music, even though the majority sounds very familiar. Familiar as in "this reminds me a lot of another band". And that other band is LACUNA COIL. This Italian Gothic band is very famous around the globe and especially in the USA. THANATOSCHIZO thus also plays this kind of Gothic Metal, with a good dose of Groove, but not in the least lots of melody. Power comes from the guitars and foremost the drums.

Midtempo is the general pace, although there are slowdowns and some tempo increases, but they are few in number and have a functional purpose. It starts with "Thick 'n' Blurry"'s mysterious intro after which heaviness comes pounding through as if it's the start of something amazing. And that's what you get: amazing grooving Gothic Metal and the first example of the LACUNA COIL influence. Keyboards provide melody and backing. On a vocal level Eduardo and Patricia take turns and join forces in the chorus. Everything is well executed and even the singing is very good, although I have to say that Eduardo's clean singing isn't always... well, Patricia does a better job. Not that her male counterpart isn't good, it's just that the sound of his voice isn't always the most fitting. But he can sing, yes. The drumfills are added via toms or congas, if I heard well.

This percussion element continues in "L.", where it occupies the starting position of the song. The guitars are added soon and then full power is set with a serious touch of eastern melodies, provided by the keyboards. "L." has more drive and push and that's more than a good thing. Instead of clean singing, Eduardo opts for grunts as he tackles the verses, while Patricia occupies the chorus. Interesting as well is the eastern break in the middle of the song, mainly delivered by a violin-like instrument. Or it could indeed be a violin, as this instrument can be heard long afterwards before the aforedelivered heaviness takes over again. Due to the way Patricia sings and the song is composed it was as if I was listening to the ProgPower band ARWEN. And that was quite entertaining, if I may say so.

One word can describe "Hereafter Path": power! The energy level is upped and once again both clean vocals are united, while grunts occupy the bridge, backed by the accordion. This is outstanding music! But the Portugese also drew influence from Jazz, as can be detected in the pauses, during which Patricia sings and the keyboards offer assistance, either as piano or as keyboard. Eduardo's clean voice also is present, of course.

"(Un)bearable Certainty" isn't heavy until halfway, but what you get is very good. Save for the drumsamples, something I'm not fond of at all, especially not when they remind of Pop music. Patricia adds an angelic touch to this first part, in which Eduardo is also present, and even when guitars and drums join in, it's easy-listening music. Once the heavier version takes over, LACUNA COIL comes to mind again. But this song is another highlight on "Zoom Code".

"Pleasure Pursuit" is the last track before things get less interesting. This is a more gentle song, midtempo paced. Keyboards deliver atmospheric accents and backing. The soft guitarbreak halfway makes the song more complete before full power is vented again.

Tracks 6 and 7, "The Shift" and "Last Of The Few", form a less interesting part in the tracklisting. The first for being an interlude composed of annoying drumsamples (even worse than two songs ago) and the electronic backing. This track is the worst, I really don't like it. The other one has an alarming characteristic, meaning it starts with an alarm via the guitar, but this aspect is interwoven in the rest of the song, in the back. The music is heavy, groovy and you get the three vocals: Patricia, and Eduardo's clean and grunts. All is well played, but somehow it isn't as catchy as the first five songs.

The situation improves again with "Pale Blue Perishes", where Jazz plays an important part again. The start is in this style and the drums play a big role here. Midtempo heaviness with rolling double bass follows for a while before changing to the normal flow. New element presented is the organ, which does have its purpose and not just for accents.

"Pervasive Healing" starts with sharp riffing and I'm hoping it stays that way, because it would inject the album with another outstanding song. Sadly it isn't so, since slow midtempo is what follows with the keyboards creating a dark atmosphere. All in all not bad, but this should have been a more Thrashy song.

"Nothing As It Seems" is where it's time to buckle up again. The music is pounding and the road is bumpy. In short, well done, but also not as entertaining as the first five songs. This one and the previous can be considered as the - so to speak - second best songs, while for "Awareness" it's a bit more difficult to catalogue it. It's an instrumental track with a Jazzy start and again the drums play a key role, especially with the constant rhythm while the keyboards add the necessary melody and atmospheric elements. Even the saxophone can be heard further in the compositions. Don't expect real singing, as Patricia only adds "aaaah" and "oooh" now and then. This song is foremost about instrumental talk. The result isn't bad at all, just not as easy to swallow as the regular songs. But it's nice to hear something different without having a completely different style.

THANATOSCHIZO may be very similar to LACUNA COIL, but they do add their own stamp by means of melody and unusual elements like adding an organ or saxophone or even giving their songs an interesting Jazzy twist. The sound is more than good and there's a nice flow in each song. Aside from the annoying interlude, there's no bad song to detect. Sure, some are less interesting, but still good enough. Anyone into Gothic Metal with a different twist - it also helps if you like LACUNA COIL ;-) - is advised to check out this Portugese band and their newest release, "Zoom Code".
5 CDs + 1 EP + T-shirt
€50.00 / $65.00