A place I once saw...
Genre: alternative/progressive metal
I guess it is an undeniable fact that alternative metal is not popular among a lot of metalheads for a number of reasons. However, I personally like alternative metal, and I do not see what is wrong with combining metal and alternative rock. The Serbian band, Zygote, is one of those bands that deliver quality alternative metal.
The alternative rock influences, I think, are very clear, and "A Place I Once Saw" contains elements that are like taken out of the 90s. For some reason, it reminds me of some of Red Hot Chili Peppers' softer stuff, and, although "A Place I Once Saw" is my least favorite track off the album, I do think it contains some brilliant vocal melodies, and I really like the instrumental section that begins around 2:35, and the heavy section that starts at 4:30ish is also quite good. I prefer the other tracks on the album though, although "A Place I Once Saw" certainly is not a bad song at all.
Okay, so there are alternative rock elements on the album, but I actually think that it is also a quite progressive affair. We are not talking overly technical and show-offy progressive metal here, but rather dark and melancholic music which is more along the lines of Day Six, Thine, and Porcupine Tree's heavier stuff. I also detect an Opeth influence in terms of the atmosphere, and it also sounds like Zygote have listened extensively to "Damnation". This does not mean that Zygote are unoriginal - they actually strike me as being a rather talented and fairly original group with a promising future.
There is a lot of good stuff here. The opening track "Polynomia" starts out with a heavy and kind of oddly groovy riff which works very well, and which, fortunately, recurs a couple of times in the song. The instrumental track "Kismet" is a heavy and dark and absolutely brilliant track with a lot of interesting sections in it. There is also a version of it that features Jake O'Bayne on vocals - I have no idea who he is, but he has an interesting almost Led Zep-ish voice. "Slowsand" is another heavy affair which features some groovy riffs and some almost doomy sections as well, and "The Serfs" is even more doomy while "Insomnia" is a more mellow affair, whose chorus is nevertheless heavy. There are a lot of interesting musical ideas on this album, and I think that the band certainly are promising.
My only problem is the sound of the distorted guitar (but not the playing, there's nothing wrong with the playing). I think that it is too compact and not well integrated into the overall sound of the album. If the guitar had a broader sound and was more integrated into the overall sound, then I think it would really have a powerful punch in the heavy sections - and it would make the album seem much heavier. I think that maybe the band should consider finding a second guitarist so as to create the proverbial wall of guitars.
But all in all, a very good first effort from Zygote. I think that it will appeal to fans of alternative rock and alternative metal alike, and I think that maybe fans of Say Six, Thine and similar bands might like it too.