|Review: Zonata - Tunes of Steel|
|Tunes of Steel|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 1999
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: October 1, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
for:Tunes of Steel
Rated 4.27/5 (85.45%) (11 Votes)
In their short career, Sweden's Zonata only released three records (all of them different), and with their 1999 debut Tunes Of Steel, the band laid the groundwork for the two wonderful albums that followed, those being Reality and Buried Alive. Most people let Zonata slip by them, despite their immense talents, and it always saddened me considering they were on a pretty big label at the time. Not a band that's easy to describe, they certainly had their own unique take on melodic Power Metal, one heavily influenced by classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. Their sound is quirky, with an overabundance of odd twists and turns, making everything seem weird and carnival-esque. Reference points undoubtedly lie with mid-period Gamma Ray, and this is down to vocalist/keyboardist Johannes Nyberg (who you'll find showing up on various albums these days, performing backing vocals), because unlike most singers in the genre, he takes his cues from Kai Hansen, only his dwarven-metal wail is much stronger and more versatile than Kai's ever was. Another thing about his guy is his use of keyboards is limited to pianos and strings, which gives his playing a sophisticated sheen.
Despite the dizzy heights they would reach with their next two records, Tunes Of Steel is their most traditional sounding album, an honest attempt at neo-classical Power Metal greatness that supplies this in spades. Production-wise it is rather raw, but it does the job. The performances and songs more than make up for this. From the melodic first bars of "Dream Child" you know you're onto a winner, and the band never take you down a wrong path, with "Geronimo", "Thor (The Thundergod)", "Bring You Down To Hell", and "Criticized" all being wonderful Power Metal cuts, showing how much life can be squeezed out this genre with just a few subtle tweaks here and there.
If you're a fan of Gamma Ray, Iron Maiden, or even Dragonland you'll find much to love in Zonata. In fact, any fan of Power Metal should give this band a chance, because with so little effort they managed to astound with their originality, and blow away their competitors at every turn. The band would produce better albums than this, but this is just as worthy as its successors. Go out and get it.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Buried Alive (reviewed by Christopher Foley)|
Review: Reality (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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