Review: Zierler – ESC
Vanity Music Group (2015)
Reviewer – Stephen Brophy
The brainchild of Danish Keyboard player and composer Finn Zierler, his new project Zierler comprises some stunning talent that he has managed to piece together for an excellent Progressive Metal album called ESC. In addition to Zierler we have some very heavy hitters from both sides of the Atlantic, Texans Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Firewind) Vocals and Bobby Jarzombek (Fates Warning, Riot) on Drums and also fellow Scandinavians Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry, Kaipa) on Guitar and Truls Haugen (Insense, Circus Maximus) on Bass and Vocals, in fact the vocals are pretty much shared between Kelly and Truls, what a great lineup of experienced performers.
There are eleven tracks on offer here and at times you might think you are listening to multiple bands, great variety in the tracks, and some wonderful musicianship as you’d expect. As with a lot of the better albums these days no single instrument overpowers the rest, allowing the band to show all of their talents in unison. The album itself clocks in at seventy two minutes which is certainly value for money in this day and age, and there are some epic pieces on it such as the stand out of me ‘Water‘ which is a beautiful piece of work, edges out of it’s shell very much on the Prog side with the intro, but just explodes into a heavier beast before swapping between styles effortlessly, at times I get a little bit of a Queensryche vibe from it, with the layers and vocals, it’s one of those tracks your don’t mind listening to over and over and it just displays different things each time, points of focus and a piece you may have skipped over just seems to stick out on another listen.
Other standouts here are the much more aggressive ‘You Can’t Fix Me No More‘ with it’s pounding riff and drums, but which also manages to maintain a level between the clear vocal delivery and some screamed frenzy or ‘Darkness Delight‘ with it’s additional chorus’s and intermittent breaks, there is just a lot of thought that has both gone into this music and that will be applied to the listener. If you are a fan of Progressive Rock/Metal or the Beyond Twilight trilogy of album releases you will definitely be more than interested in this release, but in reality I would point anyone in it’s direction, there are so many good points in this musical journey, everything sounds great and the vocals are always more than just excellently delivered they are interesting, there nothing throwaway here, Mr. Zierler certainly knows what he wants to achieve and his experience sets him almost in the role of a director. The Keyboards shine throughout adding an extra layer to pieces that just enhances everything.
Nothing sounds the same, and most importantly you don’t get the impression that the musicians are adding things for the sake of it, everything is done for the story of the song and that’s just excellent. There is no doubting the quality of the individuals involved and thankfully the end result here is a combining of forces to create a magical release, excellent work all around and a product that has been well crafted and sounds terrific, from chugging riffs, wailing solos to subtle pieces winding around each other on songs like ‘Rainheart‘, this album may have come towards the end of the year, but it’s certainly one of the best Progressive releases, it needs and demands time to listen to and in this day and age that may not always be available to us in one sitting, so take your time with it, don’t bypass it and just enjoy some delightful musical fragments that join together to form what many bands could only dream to achieve. Would be a dream to see this one played in full someday. Go take a listen, I’d be surprised if it didn’t effect you in some way. Zierler, remember the name.