Offering up infectious, groove-laden riffs aplenty, Swedish Melodic Death Metallers Zephyra lead straight into their sophomore album ‘As The World Collapses’ with feature music video track ‘Words Of A Demagogue’. I am immediately impressed with Åsa Netterbrant’s diverse vocal style on the opener, delivering a strong, commanding clean vocal offset against her brutal, extreme vocals. The inclusion of a menacing piano melody running through the track provides an ominous tone that helps add definition to the lyrics, whilst the stuttering synths offer contrast with their bright, energetic quality.
Following up with ‘Virago’, the song kicks off with anger-fuelled and vitriolic vocals screaming “What do you want from me?!”.
Simplistic yet hooky guitar and synth melodies make this track perfect for live shows. Clean vocals take centre stage mid-way through to offer a momentary respite, before the seething harsh vocals take over once again, this time complimented by a gang vocal to play the track out.
‘My Gift My Curse’ wastes no time, heading straight into crashing drums and a catchy guitar riff. I’m particularly fond of the harsh and clean vocal parts consistently and effectively exchanging with one another in a trade-off. The thrash-style riffing and mid-point guitar solo are worth a mention here and although the song is rather short and to-the-point, it has a lot of replay value.
‘Resurrect The Shame’ features my personal favourite riff of the whole album. It has Swedish Melodic Death written all over it and Tony Netterbrant’s impressive guitar riffing has an immediate impact from the moment it’s heard. The instrumentation and vocals have a real sense of togetherness throughout and I find myself absorbed in everything working as one musical cohesive unit.
‘You Cross The line’ increases the aggressive tone again. The sonic attack of the Kujtim Gashi’s rapid-fire kick drumming, Tony’s chugging rhythm guitar and Tobias Oja’s bass parts all compliment each other perfectly, whilst Åsa’s rough-edged singing mixed with harsh vocals add to the coarse, ferocity of this song.
The playful synth-lines of closing title-song ‘As The World Collapses’ are very deceptive, especially compared with the seething disdain portrayed in the roaring of the words “hating, raping, mutilating” and “Killing, beating violating”. A poignant message of humanity’s abusive and destructive nature, not only towards each other but towards the planet.
My only slight criticism of the album is related to the creative and stylistic choices made in some songs. I personally feel that the clean vocals don’t quite gel during some moments of the songs, particularly when the singing seems somewhat disjointed and jarring compared to the musical styling it is meant to compliment. However, this doesn’t change my initial opinion, as I’m impressed with Åsa’s vocal delivery, especially her extreme style, which I wouldn’t hesitate in comparing to the highly accomplished work of Angela Gossow during her prime years as Arch Enemy’s front-woman.
Musically, comparisons to the likes of ‘Soundtrack…’-era In Flames and PAIN are probably the most obvious to make, and whilst the songwriting does follow a predictable verse-chorus structure, which may not appeal to those who prefer less-formulaic compositions, it’s hard to deny that a number of the tracks will be firmly lodged in your memory after listening to them two or three times. If it’s a hooky, memorable chorus you’re after, you can’t go wrong with listening to Zephyra.
Music Video: Zephyra – Words Of A Demagogue