Released: 2003, Wagram
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
M.Z.’s latest album, UNDER THE SILVER CROSS, hearkens back to such opuses as those made famous by Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. M.Z. is from Lyon, France and is comprised of two guitarists, a keyboardist, a bassist and a drummer. What’s missing? That’s right…a vocalist! The playing is superb and the songs bounce along with a fire and passion that does not require lyrics; the MUSIC tells the story all by itself.
“Fallen Hopes” has a great riff and a galloping beat and is the best track found here. The title track contains a classical passage that I knew immediately, but I couldn’t name it. “Some Better Days” has a very haunting, somber opening on acoustic guitar that leads into another galloping rhythm. The guitar is balanced perfectly with the classical keyboards and strings in this song and it really is beautifully done. “Southern Allegro” has a Latin feel to it with a flamenco guitar sound and some interesting picking.
The CD booklet lays out the fictional story that is supposed to be going on in each of the tracks and they sound much more epic than the songs themselves. The music is grandiose and epic and these tales are about as over the top as anything Rhapsody or Bal-Sagoth have ever imagined.
Neo-classical instrumental metal has never been my cup of tea. Sure it’s technical and all that but I just can’t seem to get into it. As much as I enjoyed this CD, the truth is, I won’t be reaching for it again anytime soon, but that is due to my own personal taste and is by no means a slam of the band. If this is your thing, you won’t be disappointed.
KILLER KUTS: “Fallen Hopes,” “Some Better Days”