|Review: Zonata - Buried Alive
Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: March 20, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
How do you rate this release?
Rated 4.27/5 (85.45%) (11 Votes)
The final release from now split-up Zonata was without a shadow of a doubt their best. Earlier the band had been compared to acts such as Helloween and Yngwie Malmsteen, which isn't too far from the overall sound of Buried Alive. However Zonata add their own little spin to the formula, creating an identity of their own spawned from heavier guitars and swirling keyboards – handled aptly via the Nyberg brothers, - Johannes handling keys and vocals and John slinging the axe. These guys really ended on a high note, as Buried Alive is one of the finest Swedish Power Metal releases about - a pretty bold statement due to the swathe of sublime releases from Sweden. Care to find out why? Read on
Earthshaking opener "Buried Alive" rages from your speakers; with double kicking madness and Primal Fear-style riffs. Johannes Nyberg's vocals are fantastic, ranging from some sneer-like delivery soaring right to the sky with the high notes. Fair enough a lot of Power Metal singers do the balls-in-a-vice thing, but Johannes has the little extra "oomph" to him that the average third rate Power Metal singer couldn't offer. "Visions of Sorrow" is one of the more interesting tracks on display, with a carnival-sounding keys and some brilliant guitar work. What really impresses me with these guys is the way they arrange their songs, which is a major factor in the charm of Buried Alive. The way they write is very unconventional in their genre, yet still instantly identifiable as Power Metal. "The Last Step" is one of my favorite tracks, one of those which can be instantly recognized as Zonata. The way the keyboards swirl around the dual guitar riff is absolute genius and the vocal delivery is phenomenal.
Other stand out tracks here includes the soaring "Unleashed" and the interesting "A Dark Chapter". "You Betrayer" is another one of my favorites with a bouncing pace and some amusing lyrics; the chorus is bloody fantastic too. It's a shame these guys went so unnoticed when they were active, as they were doing things a hell of a lot better than most Power Metal acts around 2002. Buried Alive is one of those albums that you can just put on, sit and enjoy from start to finish, and before you know it an hour has flown by. Don't let this modern gem slip away, pick it up and enjoy it. Hopefully one day we'll get another album from Zonata, but until that day we have one of the finer Power Metal releases from the last decade to enjoy, one that never gets old. A modern classic, absolutely essential.
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