Wednesday 5 March 2014

Review: Zeistencroix – 'Stranger'


Los Angeles based Zeistencroix are another reminder that the wave of US industrial metal that emerged in the wake of Nothing Records in the late '90s still has a place in the hearts of a lot of people. The likes of Orgy, Powerman 5000, gODHEAD, Static-X and The Union Underground may have either slipped into self-parody or snuffed out altogether, but their breakthrough albums in the late '90s and early '00s still have the power to inspire new bands to smash guitars and synths together in a pleasing manner.

Zeistencroix's début offering 'Stranger' contains plenty of the elements that made that particular wave of industrial metal briefly commercially successful. The hard riffs, big choruses, the grooving rhythms and dance-friendly synth embellishments are all present and correct. Songs like 'Flesh', 'Killer Babe', 'Messiah', 'Stranger' and 'The Voyage' are a great example of honest and endearing songwriting.

Unfortunately there are some glaring issues with Zeistencroix's first full-length outing. Firstly, the production is not great. The mix is thick and cumbersome and many songs in fact sound quite muffled, which is a particular problem when coupled with the band's penchant for odd time signatures. The second issues is that there isn't yet a definite identity to the song writing. Yes, the influences are glaringly obvious, but the band don't quite meld these into their own sound.

There are some very promising songs on here granted. But it feels as though the band would have been better-off creating an EP out of their strongest songs and spending more time and money on getting the production right rather than charging in with a full-length release outright.

Considering there are a few bands that are pursuing the industrial metal sound with a little more originality and better execution than Zeistencroix right now, 'Stranger' may not make a particularly big splash. However the band certainly have the tools at their disposal to craft some great songs, and if they put the effort in the post-production and really try to differentiate themselves from what has gone before, they could yet make a name for themselves.

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