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Tunes of Steel
Released: 1999, Century Media
Ok. I have another CD from, you guessed it, Sweden. I don’t know what is in the water there but whatever it is... I WANT SOME!!!!!! Seems that almost every CD that I have picked up in the last month or 2 is from Sweden. Well Zonata are another Swedish power metal band that have been getting a fair amount of play in my stereo for the last little while. Tunes of Steel is the second release by the band and their first on Century Media. The disc is 10 songs of metal in the vein of Hammerfall, Helloween Savatage and Stratovarius. However, Zonata know when to slow things down and cannot be accused of being a one dimensional speed band. The lineup consists of Johannes Nyberg on vocals and keyboards, John Nyberg: guitar, Henrik Carlson: guitar, Mattias Asplund: bass and Mikael Hornqvist on drums. Johannes Nyberg is a classically trained pianist and this shines through in his compositions and arrangements. Not to mention that this guy has great pipes and marks among his influences Michael Kiske and Bruce Dickinson. The rest of the band are no slouches either with all of them in their late teens or early 20s.
"Dream Child" opens up the disc with some warp speed fret burning. This tune instantly made bang my head which is a good sign for any CD. Up next is the Hammerfallish "Geronimo". Nyberg showcases his vocal talents on this track. Zonata slow things down with "Beyond The Rainbow". Johannes puts his piano training to good use on this track and goes from a great emotional vocal to a stratospheric scream in the blink of an eye. This is definitely one of the CDs highlights. "Criticized" is a great mid tempo track with lots of great guitar from Asplund and John Nyberg. The instrumental track "Zonata" showcases the bands classical leanings and the cd closes out with "Viking". This track opens with a folk influenced intro before building up to a speed induced romp into the life of the Norsemen. This is a great CD closer and serves to bring together all the elements found on the disc.
The one great thing I found about this cd was that even though I tried I could not really compare them to any one band in particular. Yes Zonata don’t break any new ground but they don’t wear their influences on their collective sleeve. I don’t know how many times I was listening to one of the songs and was trying to figure out who they sounded like. I finally gave up and said to myself "Self... just enjoy the good music!!"
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