Reviewed: January 2003
Released: 2002, Limb Music / SPV
Zandelle are one of those bands that are unique not so much because of their music but because of where they are from – the USA. The band plays balls to the wall heavy metal, crossing into the territories of such bands as Grave Digger (with clearer vocals), Sacred Steel, Wizard, Brainstorm, Lost Horizon, etc. Hailing from New York USA, Zandelle have been hammering at the anvil since 1996 when ex-Gothic Knights vocalist George Tsalikis formed the band. Zandelle had a bit of help in the form of an underground hero of heavy metal in the USA, Denis Gulbey of Sentinel Steel records who distributed the band’s first 6-song album. Sentinel Steel also distributed their first full length – SHADOWS OF REALITY. This is when the band started to garner some serious attention leading to their relationship with Limb Music and the kick ass album that is being reviewed here – TWILIGHT ON HUMANITY.
There are some excellent moments on this album and some forgettable. Overall though, my reaction to the album is very positive. The album opens and ends with songs that make up my favorite tracks on TWILIGHT ON HUMANITY. The opening track is “Warlords of Steel.” Yeah, I know, quite the cliché song title, but it’s a great track and reminded me of a “rougher around the edges” version of Lost Horizon not unlike “Sworn in the Metal Wind” in sections. The guitars have a great thick and crunchy sound that sounds great on the fast galloping triplets. The drum sound is a slightly sub par with the toms being mixed a bit weird. Nonetheless, a great track and after I got over that minor issue I never focused on it for the rest of the album. The closing track is definitely a major accomplishment. Clocking in at about 12 minutes it doesn’t get repetitive or tiresome at all. One amusing thing I noticed in this song was during the guitar solo. Any Metallica fan who plays guitar should notice part of the solo has a section in it lifted right from “Fade To Black” – the ascending high part near the end of the solo (9:10 – 9:25 of the Zandelle track). There’s a small bit of death metal vocals mixed into this track in a few short sections, good stuff! Other tracks that deserve a mention are “The Champion” (power metal), “Lord of the Thunder” and “Delusions” (speed metal!). There was only one song on here that is a waste of space. “Eternal Love” is my least favorite track on here and unfortunately it’s close on 7-minutes long. The reason I didn’t like the song is partly because it was an entirely forgettable ballad and also because it dragged on.
Zandelle are a promising band that thanks to Limb Music are now hopefully going to be noticed by a lot more metalheads internationally. USA’s best-kept underground metal warriors are ready to be heard, so if you like no-nonsense aggressive power/speed metal than this is something for you!
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