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Released: 2015, Vanity Music Group
Reviewer: Manos X
Zierler is a band hailing from Denmark and “Esc” is their 1st release. However Zierler’s members are anything but newcomers to the world of heavy music. Indeed each member of this unique sounding band have quite a few albums under their belts.
Drummer Bobby Jarzombek has played and recorded with the likes of Riot, Sebastian Bach, Fates Warning, Spastic Ink, Iced Earth, Halford just to mention a few. His superb technical skills have easily made him stand out from the rest of the crowd for the past 25 years! Singer Kelly “Sundown” Carpenter has recorded with Beyond Twilight, Adagio, Darkology, Epysode and let’s not forget the phenomenal but short lived Outworld. Bassist Truls Haugen is a member of progsters Circus Maximus while guitarist Per Nilsson is a member of Scar Symmetry. I left keyboardist and band’s main composer Finn Zierler for last. Finn is one of these unknown musicians that despite not having made a huge name for himself his work is instantly identifiable (once you give it a chance of course) and can be considered of the highest level. Anyone wants to verify the above statement just check out albums like “Eye for an eye” released with Twilight along with the 3 albums he did with Beyond Twilight (yeah I know he likes the twilight word). In fact 2nd Beyond Twilight’s album “Section X” features Kelly Carpenter’s voice while the 1st “The Devil’s hall of fame” features monster vocalist Jorn Lande in of his finest performances ever recorded.
So as you can imagine the band’s sound dwells in the progressive realm. There are some elements from Dream Theater and Symphony X of course but Zierler have developed a much more complex and unique sound. If you’re into really complex and unexpected music then “Esc” will be something like the holy grail for you. Cause trust me when I say it hardly gets more complex than this.
Zierler’s sound is intense and multilayered as it can possibly get. Odd and I really mean odd rhythms and time signatures, strings, keyboards, choirs, plenty of cinematic parts, samples, twisted melodies and vocals that range from beautiful and haunting melodies to growling screams. Now all of the above happen many times within the same song! If you’re fan of the classic composing style like verse/bridge/chorus/solo and repeat, then you will never be able to identify with Zierler’s world. A more accurate description would be something like what if Ayreon took bath salts or Meshuggah decided to play power/progressive!
“Esc” is a musical journey unlike any other encountered as a listener. Lyrical, aggressive, melodic but twisted, complex and relentless at the same time. All of the above are backed up by a rare display of musical skills from each member. Superb drumming, insane guitar parts, complex and multilayered keyboard parts, killer bass lines and a masterful performance on vocals.
Production is amazing and gives a huge plus to the overall result. Jacob Hansen along with Finn Zierler (again???) have created a something that should set new standards on how to mix an album.
So is “Esc” an album without weaknesses? The answer is no. The Achilles’ heel of this album lies in its own complexity. I found myself lost many times not knowing which song am I listening to, simply because song structures are vague. As lyrics in “No chorus” say these guys are tired of following the standard formula of creating and structuring music and want to experiment as much as possible.
The entire album is one long highlight but my favorite tune is without a doubt “Rainheart” with Kelly’s magnificent singing elevate the result to the stratosphere.
Simply putting it Zierler’s debut is a pure masterpiece of all levels. Uncompromising and unique at the same time makes me wish this band lasting for more than a single album because the amount of talent gathered here can easily overshadow the majority of well established bands of the genre. If you’re the type of person who’s looking for an album that will slowly reveal itself each time you spin it then look no more “Esc” is here!!!!
1 A New Beginning 07:24
2 Aggrezzor 06:04
3 Darkness Delight 07:03
4 Dark to the Bone 05:17
5 Evil Spirit 05:57
6 Married to the Cause 06:00
7 No Chorus 05:38
8 Rainheart 07:12
09 You Can't Fix Me No More 04:44
10 Water 08:32
11 Whispers 08:10
Truls Haugen - Vocals
Bobby Jarzombek - Drums
Per Nilsson - Guitars, Bass
Finn Zierler - Keyboards
Kelly Sundown Carpenter - Vocals