Four-piece band ZEPHYRA are back with their new album, As The World Collapses. The Swedish melodic death metal band managed to put their name on the map with their first album Mental Absolution, but had a lot to improve on to really establish themselves, will As The World Collapses push forward?
The vocals of Åsa Netterbrant have improved when compared to their first album, especially noted with her clean vocals, they have more power behind them. The skill of each musician is definitely better, and they have improved vastly since Mental Absolution. Unfortunately, this is one of the only main improvements that can be pointed out on As The World Collapses.
A perfect example of how melodic death metal is too often using the more modern electric sounds, using keyboards to get a melodic sound. In every song, the keys hold a very similar sound to the first song, but in a different tone. It is really unfortunate that the experimenting from ZEPHYRA has completely overpowered the music. When you have bands in the metal genre out there that do use keys, it’s often just to set a mood for a song as opposed to creating a twist on the genre.
What is quite sad, is that the first album had elements of thrash, which evidently gets lost on this album within the electric sound. If you look over this on the other hand, there are some solid riffs and heavy ones at that, the vocals and solid beats keep the tempo up.
The album starts with a song titled Words of a Demagogue which starts with catchy keyboard sounds, other than that we get some solid bass and drum beats that are satisfying and go into some great guitar sections and vocals in between the electric sound.
Next up is Virago and the introduction of this track leads a lot to be desired. The combination of electronics and metal riffs do not blend together as well as the opening song. The electronics instantly conquer up images of neon lights and if the song wasn’t trying so hard to a metal track it might’ve succeeded rather than falling flat.
The third song on the album is My Gift, My Curse and the keyboards are back from the first song. Of course they return in a different tone and much less energetic, but they are back none the less. This song has nice riffs and vocals that actually work with the electronics, at least when they are lower in the mix and more background noise.
Only one is the 4th song on the album and it starts with the rather pleasant piano, that then go into a rather fast guitar section. This is probably the strongest song on this album with right levels of mixing keys in most parts but not all. Allowing the piano sound to really shine through with some great guitar sounds.
The song Tormenting T starts with a heavy riff and nice background noise but as soon as the vocals start, the keys from the first song are back, it’s not a good thing as it feels that they repeat the same sequence again. Even if the song itself if actually solid on different levels. Gone By Dawn is the 7th song. The intro is okay, the vocals bring this dark feel that feature in other songs but really shine through here as they work really well together with the guitars and drums. Eventually you will hear the familiar patterns again though.
As The World Collapses is not bad but it’s far from enjoyable because of certain aspects. Metal needs to keep its identity and mixing electronic and techno sounds in to the point that it’s overpowering the rest of the band hurts more than helps. There are some solid riffs that just get lost behind the keyboards to often. If you like more electronic sounds mixed in with metal, this album possibly will satisfy you but if you looking for a melodic death metal album without artificial sounds and one that doesn’t repeats itself throughout the album, you’ll do better looking elsewhere.
As The World Collapses is out now
For more information on ZEPHYRA like their official page on Facebook