Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Zillion is a new band offering up their debut album on Frontiers Records. The band is a trio of very experienced musicians. Mike Terrana (drums) is a member of Rage and has also played with Artension, Axel Rudi Pell and Yngwie Malmsteen, to mention a few. Jens Becker (bass) is a steady member of Grave Digger, but has also been involved with Running Wild and Kingdom Come. Sandro Giampietro, one of the top guitar players in Germany according to Hammer magazine, has played in SupaRed with Michael Kiske. He’s also put on workshops for Marshall and Yamaha Music. This is a German band, with Terrana representing the USA.
The band biography I was sent states that Zillion has a pretty original sound, something I question. The biography also describes their music as hard rock and nothing more, but if you read further it later says that the music is a fusion between classic/melodic heavy metal with the man focus on melodic metal.
The album features eleven tracks and is produced by Giampietro. He has created a heavy soundscape with enough space for all the members to fill. Giampietro is at the top of the mix with his lead vocals and guitar, as well as Terrana’s impressive drum play. Zillion doesn’t use keyboards on the album much and that is indeed a positive thing. Giampietro has a nice voice that fits this music perfectly. His sparkling guitar play on the album shows why he’s been rated one of the top guitar players in his country.
The album kicks off with “You & Me” which has an intro with lead vocals that bleed into some very slow melodic hard rock in the two first verses and a rising tempo in the chorus. Call it an up-tempo ballad. Then comes “This Day Is Gone”, a fast, melodic hard rock track with metal influences. The metal influence comes from Giampietro’s sharp guitar play and he shows that he has a very broad vocal range here. “Dirty Little Secret”, “Kryptonite” and “The Hose” are three well-played melodic hard rock tracks with some tempo changes. Giampietro is at the top of the mix on these faster tunes, though “Kryptonite” has some slower parts and is more melodic compared to the other two. In “Never Down”, “The Smile”, “Wonder Why” and “Say Goodbye” the band has managed to combine melodic hard rock and heavy metal. Giampietro carries these tracks well vocally and in the guitar parts he shifts between heavy melodic hard rock and pure riffing guitar play. Terrana also plays a big part with his brilliant drum play. He is both technical and fast and handles the different tempos through the songs great. “Take It Away” starts off as a ballad with a very calm intro before turning into an up-tempo ballad. “Day Or Night” is the last track and here we have the only real ballad. It’s a really slow track with acoustic guitar and lead vocals at the top of the mix.
There isn’t so much to complain about on this debut. As I mentioned before, these guys are experienced musicians who know exactly what they’re doing. All of the songs are strong, with the exception of the ballad. The album is quite striking. The only thing besides the ballad that’s remotely negative is the cover, but it doesn’t seem like Frontiers Records ever puts much into their band’s album covers. Zillion may be a force to look out for in the music scene in the future.