Album Title: 
Mental Absolution
Release Date: 
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Review Type: 

Zephyra are a Swedish act that released two EP’s in the past, if I’m not mistaken (First Blood and Kämpaglöd, in 2012 and 2013 respectively). To celebrate their fifth year of existence (and after lots of line-up changes), they release a first full length, Mental Absolution, which was produced, engineered and mixed by Bleed Someone Dry-guitarist Jonathan Mazzeo, whom you might know from his production duties for Mechanical God Creation, Xenosis, Ashes To Ashes, Agharti or Beyond Mortality a.o.

The band, with female singer / grunter Åsa Netterbrand and guitar player Tony Netterbrand (both of them are the sole remaining founding members), play a highly catching, sometimes emotive and modern form of Metal, mixing elements from Thrash Metal, Post-Metal, Metalcore and Groove. There is quite some variety in structures (with lots of breaks and hooks), tempo (with everything in between slow and fast) and melodies (from integer over up-tempo to thrashing). The song writing has been done, and that’s clear, with persuasion, craftsmanship and creativity, but I can’t get rid of the impression that it all sounds way too clean. This goes for both the performance as well as the production. When it comes to the latter, well, one cannot ignore the almost clinically exaggerated sound. Advantage is the superb mix, in which each single element (drums, basses, guitars and vocals, both leading and backing) plays an undeniable important role. But if you like your meat saignant, it might bother. And since I am a carnivore to-the-bone… In general, the whole recording sounds way too sterile, as if this album is meant to be a collection of radio-hits.

Pop Music for metalheads… Catchy stuff but lacking of identity… Safety and predictability overpowering creativity and persuasion…