Sunday afternoon, somewhere on Earth.
I get ready to hear a new EP: Kämpaglöd, by Zephyra. My vinyl antennas establish communication between my mind and its vibrations:
Kämpaglöd: I’m a badass high five. in the face. with a chair!
Me: Yeah, right …
Kämpaglöd: I’m not kidding.
Me: Aha …
Kämpaglöd: Ok, here I go … (music starts)
Mind’s ERROR MESSAGE:
This mind has been blown away. Please come back later.
Kämpaglöd: Told you.
Monday night. An unknown location in space / time.
I hate to admit it, but the lady knows how to read me like a book, and knows that the quickest way to reach my heart is the tasty mixture of female clean vocals and some badass evil grunts. Give me that and some badass guitar riffs, and I’ll be drooling like a St. Bernard in love. Well, this is a resource that is currently being used by bands from all over world, but Zephyra has also added a variety of condiments to their music, and founded a way to bring a number of genres, influences and emotions, really impressive. The band has transformed this EP in a mixture of great and outstanding infectious rhythms, powerful vocals, thrashy riffs and a touch of progressive sound camouflaged within their melodic and extreme sensations.
Zephyra is a swedish melodic metal band, although it is impossible to summarize its genre and style with words. The band was formed in 2009 by singer Åsa Netterbrant, and guitarrist Tony Netterbrant, and after some changes, the current lineup consists on the founders, and bassist Tobias Oja. The band is searching for a new drummer nowadays. Kämpaglöd is the band’s second EP, self released (I take my hat off to this), which brings an innovative and powerful content, music with an unpredictable, natural and powerful background.
When I read that in addition to clean vocals, singer also did the growls, I thought: “This cannot be so perfect”, but after listening the first track, Route 611, I knew it would not be that hard to fall in love of her versatile voice. The influences of Dark Tranquility are immediately noticeable, with a melodic guitar amalgamated to Åsa’s malevolent growls. Although for almost every song her work is also supported by some furious and outstanding vocals of the guitarist, I was specially and pleasantly impressed with the versatility and skills of the singer, Åsa has a very good technique, enough to make excellent growls, and to become the princess of the fairytale and sound extremely sweet and fragile. In Family Forced, the guitar is aggressive and dark, the bass projects this darkness in a splendid way, the clean vocals are beautifully melodic and sweet, and contrast superbly with the growls. The whole dynamic of the song reminded me of early Sirenia’s style, but with a very personal touch, more thrashy, raw, heavy and emotional. Pessimist begins with the sweet, soft and emotive voice of Åsa, wrapped in an atmospheric cloak that is somewhat disturbing; a radio transmission and a police siren give way to sad guitar riffs, which attacks with their deadly kiss throughout the song, and the angry lyrics, simple, without preamble and full of rage, that for some reason I don’t know, came to touch the depths of my own heart. Definitely one of the slower and most melancholic tracks from the EP.
Release My Anger retakes the initial adrenaline again, and brings us a duet of enraged vocals between guitarist and singer that can easily give us goosebumps. A clean and melodic chorus, and a notable guitar solo, which is not surprising, but is definitely delighted. And if you want to have that high five right in the face, don’t forget to watch the official video of this song. Imprisoned Queen is literally a black hole, because, traveler, you will not realize that this is absorbing you until you’re already in, too deep to escape. Finally, the song that gives a name to the EP is the only instrumental song on it. This is not a strategy I’ve seen a lot, but as I said before, Zephyra is a band that is not afraid to break with traditions and try new things. Kämpaglöd, the song, is complete, entertaining and very well articulated, a bit short for my taste but overall a great success in almost every aspect. The guitar is a good leader, and knows how to handle the caravan of tunes to the correct musical direction. The EP ends here, and I, honestly captivated, am willing to listen some more, so I’ll give it a few more spins today, at least until a considerable amount of its poison gets in my blood …
Wednesday afternoon. Unknown year. Unknown location.
One wonders … How much talent is out there that I still do not know of? How often we see new bands floating in cyberspace and not even give them a chance? Anyone who claims to know me, knows that I’m kind of anxious, you know, the kind of person who stops the microwave oven just seconds before it is ready, because we just CAN NOT wait. When I finished listening to this record for the first time, mixed feelings invaded me. At first, anxiety, then, my impotence of not having heard it before, and finally, the uncontrollable happiness to see that this band has so much more to offer, and I have high hopes that fans and the music industry, will be smart enough to not let this talent fades away. It would be just a crime.
Personally I think any fan of bands like Sirenia, Amaranthe, and the “female fronted metal” in general, will be more than happy with this EP. But in my humble opinion, I think Zephyra has a special appeal, rarely seen in this era of barbie girls with microphones. Zephyra’s charm lies in the commendable work of the singer, and in their successful experiment, making a hybrid of a lot of genres and putting all of them together, that makes their music specially unique, really surprising. Personally, the only reason why I did not give this EP my five golden stars, is because I think that the band is still growing, and production, good for a self release, needs a little bit more attention. But I must clarify folks, throughout my life I have seen many bands born and consolidate as stars, and I must say that, for me, the quality of Zephyra, is more than promising.
Now, between you and me, I know that both of us are looking forward for new albums and shows of our favorites famous bands. But from time to time is not bad at all, to pay a little attention to the new generation of musicians, and provide some support if we like what they do. Metal scene in general has declined these last years, you know it, and I know it. So I hope that when you hear Kämpaglöd, you’ll be smart enough to know how to value the great work that it is, to enjoy it, and not stay stuck in classifying. I don’t care if you’re a fan of death, thrash, progressive or melodic. This album will give you what you ask for if you pay a little attention. Remember our music depends of our feedback with new bands with good ideas as Zephyra. Who knows, maybe in a few years Zephyra will achieve musical maturity and will be consecrated, and you’ll be sorry for not having paid attention before.
If you’d like to find out more about the band, here is my interview.