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Zeno - 1986 Zeno

LABEL: EMI/Parlophone
SERIAL: CDP 7-46270-2
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2004, MTM, 0681-117 * 2005, Z (EMI Japan), TOCP-67704


LINEUP: Zeno Roth - all guitars, harmony vocals * Michael Flexig - lead and harmony vocals * Ule W Ritgen - bass, harmony vocals

Guests: Drums - Stuart Elliot, Chuck Burgi, Rudy Kae * Keyboards - Carl Marsh, Don Airey

TRACK LISTING: 01 Eastern Sun * 02 A Little More Love * 03 Love Will Live * 04 Signs On The Sky * 05 Far Away * 06 Emergency * 07 Don't Tell The Wind * 08 Heart On The Wing * 09 Circles Of Dawn * 10 Sent By Heaven * 11 Sunset


An interesting chap this Zeno Roth.. very mystical and spiritual.. qualities I admire in a person, let alone a musician. It's a pity the record buying public didn't cotton on to Zeno and his mystical qualities at the time of this release, as he could literally have become a legend in his own right. His history goes back a way, following in the shadow of his elder brother Uli-Jon Roth, better known as the premier guitarist with The Scorpions (Mk1). When Uli-Jon left them to form his own outfit Electric Sun, he recruited Zeno's good friend.. bassist Ule Ritgen. By 1983/84, Zeno had secured a huge deal with EMI, one of the biggest ever at the time.. an advance reputed to be 2 million pounds! Electric Sun were about to release their third effort 'Beyond The Astral Skies'.. which included Ritgen and by this stage, singer Michael Flexig. Pretty soon, both would leave and hook up with Zeno, lured by the promise of bigger riches ahead.

The Songs
By 1986 the debut Zeno album was released, though it had been in the can since 1985. Zeno spared no expense in travelling the world to get the right 'sound'. No doubt, this is where all the EMI dollars went. The album, is a mixture of Boston's melodic power and Queen's symphonic tapestries. An acquired taste for some, especially the vocals of Herr Flexig.. but all in all, a nice slab of German melodic rock, if a bit inconsistent at times. Surely though, excellent tracks like 'Love Will Live', with its simplistic anthemic style reminiscent of early Queen, plus 'Eastern Sun' (once we get past the oriental intro) are flagbearers for melodic rock. Elsewhere, the mystical theme, with tracks such as 'Don't Tell The Wind', 'Heart On The Wing' and 'Sent By Heaven' don't quite carry it off. And there in lies the problem.. a lot of promise and potential, but not quite hitting home for the buying public.

In Summary
Though the band toured during 1986 alongside contemporaries Keel, Krokus, Black Sabbath and Queen, the high mileage and accumulated air points did not equate to great sales unfortunately. By 1988, Zeno had lost their EMI deal, and Flexig had moved on, replaced by Tommy Heart. In 1989, Zeno (the band) called it a day, with Ritgen and Heart going off to start up another GDAZE fave band.. Fair Warning.. Interest was retweaked with Zeno during the nineties, especially in Japan. Subsequently, we saw the release of 'Zenology' (1995) and 'Listen To The Light' (1998). I am a bigger fan of those Zeno albums to be honest (tracks such as the awesome 'Heat Of Emotion', plus I have most of his unreleased demos as well), that I could sit and write heaps about the man and his music. Suffice to say, my time would be better spent preaching to the unconverted. As I mentioned earlier, it is an acquired taste, so you are forewarned. But if bands like Fair Warning or Dreamtide appeal, then you'll need to discover Zeno first.. and you may well end up in the same position I am now.. an admirer.

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#1 | gdazegod on March 19 2008 09:53:01
This vid is pretty cool. Kinda wish I was there!
#2 | gdazegod on March 19 2008 22:00:00
YouTube Video:
#3 | gdazegod on March 19 2008 22:00:10
YouTube Video:
#4 | gdazegod on March 19 2008 22:00:20
YouTube Video:
#5 | Jez on June 13 2008 15:37:52
This is Melodic Rock of the highest order, and now that it has been given the complete makeover treatment in the Mixing & mastering (by Zeno Roth himself) sounds absolutely fantastic. You can now hear loads of nuances in the mix compared to the drum heavy vinyl version. My picks -'Heart On The Wing'(bloody huge track), 'Circles Of Dawn', 'Emergency' & 'How Can I Know' (1 of the 5 excellent bonus tracks).
#6 | Eric on July 25 2008 01:17:57
This is the good stuff. Phenomenal album and the Queen comparisons are right on.
#7 | george_the_jack on May 22 2009 17:31:08
Great album indeed.Zeno was producing quality melodic rock while his brother was interested in collecting Jimmy's (Hendrix) guitars....What a strange world we live in!
#8 | Traveller in time on April 24 2011 08:19:32
One of the BEST bands, Germany ever had.

#9 | trillion1999 on October 20 2011 14:00:44
This review made me go out and buy the CD ASAP.Thanks!
#10 | super80boy on April 26 2014 19:12:15
Here we have super melodic guitar leads and stylish chords coupled with a big range vocalist which created a standout German melodic rock album. Fair Warning definitely comes to mind on this set of songs.
#11 | super80boy on May 18 2014 17:10:41
The lead vocalist Zeno definitely marks his territory with high pitched crooning, but it works against the sweeping arena rock back drop. Everything is just done in big grandiose proportions sometimes bordering on bombastic. 'Don't Tell The Wind' and 'Heart On The Wing' are favorites with their big catchy choruses. The lead off 'Eastern Sun' is another solid offering.

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