Survivors Zero – CMXCIX

Reviewed: September 2009
Released: 2009, Cobra Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Death metal is a great thing to have around you sometimes. It´s powerful, it´s heavy, it´s brutal and it´s just giving you some extra chills from time to time. We have all experienced it before, well, at least most of us anyway when spinning around some particular albums from this extreme metal genre.

Survivors Zero, this 5-headed monster band from Finland, also seems to know what it takes to create some pummelling and ball-squeezing death metal, with a modern touch. The band did impress the hell out of me already when they released their only 2-track promotional demo, EXTINCTION, last year. Since those days the band has traveled a relatively long and rocky, but a very rewarding road, at least if their long-awaited, debut album titled CMXCIX, can speak any volumes for any of getting rewarded by something stunning.

CMXCIX, with its 10 songs on it, really blows up the bank – and really even some more of them on the same block. The musicianship between these Finns is – to put it simply, just fucking amazing. It is actually very easy for me to say and admit this for myself, now having torturing my eardrums by listening to this all blood-stopping release for the last week (or so), with a great pleasure. Each song – yes, each goddamn song on CMXCIX, reeks of some well chosen quality words that each one of us wants to spit high in the air when getting totally excited and enchanted by something (for some of us it may be having sex with an under-aged daughter of the neighbour´s mom – and for some of us, it may be simply having a good yet over-stimulating ear ride with some badass record, you get the picture anyway, don´t you?).

What Survivors Zero basically do on their to-say-the-least killer debut album, is combining some of the best elements of today´s death metal (I mean, catchiness – brutality – melody and so on – all of these things actually), and spicing it up with really well-made and incredibly powerful death grunts of Tommi “Rotten”, huge, striking riff fests courtesy of Sami, some beautiful yet incredible soloing churned out by this true guitar wizard known as a more common name Jani and so on – and most of all, truly having an ear in all those essential and vital things that makes one to admire and appreciate all that what they can do so well, and in such a professional way as a tightly and professionally working unit.

And this is what has undoubtedly happened with CMXCIX, too. Survivors Zero haven´t left anything by halves, but pushed themselves really hard and determinedly to get all these 10 songs recorded for their strong debut tour-de-force – and the final result of all this is just incredible in every way. Try to mix in your mind some technical wankery of Arch Enemy together with some of the heaviness and catchiness you can find from Entombed´s CLANDESTINE era, and you have got your very first clue how CMXCIX might possibly sound like. The rest you are naturally eager to find out by yourself, but one thing is already certain: You´ll hardly get disappointed by this totally stunning yet album. Songs like “Armageddon Cult”, “Scavengers of Christ”, “Thorns of Rapture” and “Fortress of Lies” are kind of your guaranteed winning tickets to make sure you will get an albumful of beautiful ear candy that are worth each of your hard-earned pennies – and even more. The production is also top-notch. Jonas Kjellgren (the owner of Black Lounge Studio and of Scar Symmetry fame) was definitely the right man to give the final whiplash to this brilliant record. Thumbs up to him for his fantastic production skills on CMXCIX. This man deserves to live, ha!

I do not wanna say more except that Survivors Zero do rule immensely and I am truly fine with it, really.


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Track Listing:
01. Embrace the Inferno
02. Armageddon Cult
03. Lucifer Effect
04. Scavengers of Christ
05. Thorns of Rapture
06. Fortress of Lies
07. I Bury Them Deeper
08. I Am the Gun
09. Trail of Fears
10. Reclaim My Heritage

Tommi Virranta – Vocals
Sami Jämsén – Guitar
Jani Luttinen – Lead guitar
Tapio Wilska – Bass
Reima Kellokoski – Drums