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Prodigal Earth - Zenith II Zero (CD)

Prodigal Earth
Zenith II Zero
by Grigoris Chronis at 21 March 2009, 10:10 AM

The second offering from the Cyprus-located Pitch Black Records is PRODIGAL EARTH's debut album, called Zenith II Zero. The Cypriot quintet features Nicholas Leptos (member of fellow compatriots ARRYAN PATH and DIPHTHERIA) on vocals while we should bear in mind DIPHTHERIA's To Wait For Fire CD (read the review here) was the same label's first number. Still, in order to set things straight, Zenith II Zero somehow overlaps the 'only traditional' Metal stigma.
Not avoiding what seems to be the basis, PRODIGAL EARTH's songwriting spine cries out for the filters of IRON MAIDEN, DIO, is engraved with some MANOWAR/WARLORD elements and (to an extent) CRIMSON GLORY but gets a grip also on the STRATOVARIUS/ANGRA more current branch plus (in a smaller potion) the RHAPSODY/LOST HORIZON works of art. There's a good change you'll get the last (of all the above written) feedback first; don't jump to any fast conclusions. PRODICAL EARTH's blend is first melodic and then symphonic, and it's first Metal and then anything else. As the audition carries on, you may even get tied to the idea that it's - eventually - mostly IRON MAIDEN and then anything else Metal, haha.
The songwriting is interesting; lots of work done in the harmonies field, with good alternations in riffs and a heavy load of dual leads. The rhythm section follows a relevant pattern in loyal obedience, providing each song with the weapon of diversity. This adds a level of comfort as things become straightforward Metal here and there. Whenever needed, the keys supply the atmosphere needed for more majestic parts. Nicholas Leptos' voice does not surpass the music's significance, quite wisely in my humble opinion. A respected voice in the Cypriot Metal scene, he's not as aggressive as one may think since he tries to focus more on shooting out or dressing up each word he sings. His voice sounds like a mix of Bruce Dickinson's art with Midnight's mystique and Andre Matos' classical arrangements, he does quite well in both clear-cut and sophisticated parts; at times he seems to be unbeatable.
Listening to Zenith II Zero again and again, some drawbacks would sum it up to the absence of a superb production/mix (do not think the sound is average, though) while it seems - to my ears - that at times there's not a solid coherence between mild and vivid themes. The accent of Leptos may sound quite 'exotic' to many fans not quite familiar with bands from countries other than the usual ones. Thankfully, the 'sound' issue is partially solved due to PRODIGAL EARTH's tendency not to keep the music one level below just raging on, unveiling a more epic attitude in most times.
Lyricism in Metal music? Probably, yes. PRODIGAL EARTH is a really good chance for metalheads who like e.g. Greek Heavy Metal bands. Also applicable for fans more spellbound by IRON MAIDEN or CRIMSON GLORY/(80s) QUEENSRYCHE or ANGRA rather than JUDAS PRIEST or ACCEPT/SAXON or PRIMAL FEAR, just to bring forth a clearer image. Don't know if these are songs now written or Zenith II Zero is a collection of demos, outtakes etc but I strongly believe this quintet has something to offer. First piece of work approved.

P.S. 1: The beautiful cover artwork is designed by Thomas Ewerhard (THERION, JORN, TANKARD, VANDEN PLAS, HAMMERFALL).
P.S. 2: The alternate take on Pro Defunctis features some magical female lead vocals.
P.S. 3: Read the comments of the band for each song here.

3 Star Rating

Disaster 121
Broken World
Lonely Gods
Once Upon A Crime
God's Children
The Young Ones
Will To Live
The End (Ashes Of Desire Pt. 1)
Pro Defunctis
Pro Defunctis (Bonus - Alternate Version)
Ninos - Guitars
Antonis - Guitars
Nicholas - Drums
Nicholas - Vocals
Paris - Bass
Record Label: Pitch Black Records


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