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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Zeno - 2006 Runway To The Gods
 
Zeno - 2006 Runway To The Gods



ARTIST: Zeno
ALBUM: Runway To The Gods
LABEL: MTM Music
SERIAL: 0681-176
YEAR: 2006
CD REISSUE: 2006, Z (EMI Japan), TOCP-70059

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Zeno - guitars, all instruments, harmony vocals, lead vocals ('Do You Feel The Time') * Michael Bormann - lead vocals, harmony vocals<

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fanfares Of Love * 02 Climb The Sky * 03 Land Of Illusion * 04 Shades Of Blue * 05 Runway To The Gods * 06 Sogno Di Angelo (Instr) * 07 Refugees (Logning For Paradise) * 08 I Feel - I Live * 09 Purify (Pilgrims Of Rememberance) * 10 Do You Feel The Time

RATING:


Background
One guy who hasn't featured much over the last decade or so is German guitarist Zeno Roth. Best known for his symphonic melodic rock excursions with his band Zeno, he was responsible for one of the most lavish (and expensive) debut albums ever made, the 1986 'Zeno' album. A brace of albums followed, all in that similar style familiar to followers of the band Fair Warning, his last effort clocked out over eight years ago. Excusing last years CD release on MTM Music which was a rehash of previously unreleased material, Zeno resumes for business in 2006 with new material, this time he is doing the bulk of the work himself, with the lead vocals being handled by Michael Bormann from Jaded Heart. If this was supposed to be a symphonic rock album, then most of the subtle moments are lost in the mix. The edgy and harsh guitar tone roughens up the overall sound, to the point of suffocation, while the keyboard layers are (literally) buried.


The Songs
The arrangements are quite busy, and you hear this immediately on the start-off track 'Fanfares Of Love'. This is one for those that admire Fair Warning's rampant style. Probably the best track on offer is 'Climb The Sky', this one gradually works up to a crescendo, the solo spot is terrific. Continuing that Middle Eastern influence from past albums is 'Land Of Illusion', another slow-burner that gradually has the blow-torch turned up. Galloping across through the headphones is 'Shades Of Blue', mostly an uptempo rocker with bursts of acoustic guitar throughout. Again, Fair Warning fans will lap up the excellent 'Refugees', by now you'd swear that Zeno Roth and Helge Engelke were one and the same! A throwback to eighties riffarama is 'I Feel - I Live', a noisy guitar rocker that has more in common with attitude and sweat rather than class unfortunately. The album contains a couple of instrumentals: 'Sogno Di Angelo' and 'Sunset Birds Flying Home', while Zeno himself sings on 'Do You Feel The Time'.


In Summary
Personally, I don't think this is Zeno's best work, the production (which has been commented on with many other reviews) is ok, but the the way it has been mixed (some instruments prominent other less so) is a bit variable, the guitars as mentioned, sound too harsh for this style of music. To be honest, I much prefer Michael Flexig's warbling style over Bormann's, not to say that Bormann isn't any good - far from it, just that the operatic style that a guy like Flexig or Tommy Heart can provide is tailor made for Zeno's music. Still, great to see he has the heart to keep putting out music, even if his own personal circumstances prevented him from being active over the last eight years or so. Let us hope he gives the production reigns to someone else next time, and that he can focus on the music instead. By the way, the album cover art is beautiful.


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