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Zenit - Surrender CD (album) cover





3.56 | 31 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What would you do if you listen to the music from the band that you never heard before? Expect that they're gonna sound like the bands you have been familiar before - and use them as reference to compare with the new band the music you are listening to? Or expect new experience that you never heard before - and try to explore your listening horizon to accept that new sound that might be weird? Or just listen to the music openly - let it flow naturally and then you associate the music in new reference? Well, I guess each individual has their own style on "reacting" on new band and penning some words of opinion.

Initially, it was tough to digest ...

As for my case with Zenit "Surrender" I have combined all of the above together at the same time. The reason is pretty simple: I just want to give my fair opinion without having to know what the net say about this album. I even did not know that the band was featured at this site. I don't know the band at all - in fact, I thought that the name of the band was Surrender and the album was Zenit. I did not really care at first spin, I just put the CD at my player and I did not even want to take a closer look of the sleeve notes and credits (the who's and who the band members). I did not want to be influenced by any sleeve note of the "strange" band to my knowledge (hmm .. How can I be classified as "Special Collaborator" if I cannot differentiate band name from album title? It's a pity, isn't it? That's fact man .). I let my mind accept whatever sounds the CD produced for my ears.

At first spin, I did not find any interesting pieces that I can easily memorize as a song - say the power of melody. I did not even think that the music flow naturally. In fact, I thought that the music was like "being forced" to sound like this. There are variations but I don't think they give enough enjoyment as a song. My first reaction was the lead vocalist who sounds like Cyrus of Citizen Cain - or Peter Gabriel of Genesis (was). Nevermind, I had to move on with this strange band. I removed all preconceived ideas about "the kind of music of .." thing and really digest the music "as-is". Having done so, it helped me release some blockages I had. I kept spinning the CD and by the time I write this review, I have listened to this album for at least three (3) times in its entirety.

The strong point about this album is its composition and richness of textures. On composition, the band put extra efforts to compose such a good album. On textures, I can only say that this album uses many types of instruments from standard guitar-bass-drum-keyboard-vocal. On non-musical thing, I have to put two thumbs up for the sonic quality of the CD - awesome! While on weakness point, I think this album is a bit less in musical density where in some parts sound a bit empty - e.g. they only contain dry sound of bass guitar augmented with soft guitar fills. The other point is in handling transition pieces - most of them don't sound quite natural to my ears. This might become okay with repeated spins of the CD as people will get used to it. I remember vividly the first time I enjoyed YES "The Ancient" of Tales From Topographic Ocean when I was a child - it was a nightmare as it did not sound naturally for my ears. But now the song has become legendary and I always enjoy it when I spin the CD. This is just a matter of comparison on "the way I feel" (like the title of Cuby + Blizzard's song, do you know? Well, sometime you need blues music man, I tell you .) about a song.

I don't want to write long review on track by track basis. But I think it's worth to mention some tracks as reference. "Yin And Yang" (10:47) is a completely a neo prog composition with some parts with relatively low musical density and sounds a bit empty. Even though the composition is good, this track is not melodic as a song. "The City" (4:25) is pop music outfit with a bit of prog touches here and there. It reminds me to Kayak music. "Devil' Siesta" (3:59) - starts with excellent cello work backed with acoustic guitar. This song reminds me to Cyrus of Citizen Cain in terms of singing style. "The Cathedral" (4:18) has its style similar to ELP with Gabriel-like vocal.

Conclusion: You may need to connect the dots ...

If I can list down the influences to Zenit, they are coming from: Marillion (especially on music flow and style of neo prog), Genesis (especially on singing style), Citizen Cain (especially on singing style), ELP (some keyboard textures), IQ (on music flow and a bit of singing style), and YES (on music flow).

Overall - it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. It's a quite difficult to digest this album at first spin but it will grow with number of spins. You might find the melody is difficult to digest - even though not as tough as YES "The Ancient" - and the music sound like disconnected. But, I am sure at the end that you would be able to "connect the dots". That's the challenge in progressive music . Happy listening. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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