August 5, 2006

CD Review: Divided by Zero - The Black Sea

This album is an interesting entity that caught me off guard. When I received the disk, I made a snap judgement based on what I saw. I received the CD in a clear jewel case, no booklet, no cover, no notes, and nothing to indicate what type of music to expect. The CD itself was labeled with a simple white sticker with the band's name, the album name, and the track listing. I took a look at the name, Divided by Zero, and the album name, The Black Sea, and I expected something in the vein of black metal, or at least something with a heavy edge to it. What I got was a more straight alt-rock release, a sound that at times reminded me of Faith No More, Disturbed, and other more middle of the road rock acts.

This is Divided by Zero's debut release, and the first release ever for their label Sik World Records. Sik World is known for their novelty clothes, and are now seeking to expand their empire into a new horizon. So, does it work? I think so, and if not, we at least have another interesting act that another label may want to look into. I really have no idea how to judge a label, at least a brand new one. But that is neither here nor there.

The Black Sea is an ambitious album that has songs that incorporate a number of elements into one bands sound. There are straight up rockers, slower soft tracks, some pop rock, and some metal. The album slowly grew on me. The first few time through, I thought it was good, but not particularly special, but the more I listened to it, the more it opened up for me.

The band is solid, easily sliding from the mellow introspection of "Helicopter" to the more Alice in Chains styled "Double Negative." There are many styles fused here, rock, metal, a touch of reggae, in a well polished performance that was ably guided by up and coming producer, and former Snot/Soulfly guitarist Mikey Doling who also was behind the dials for Mower's Not for You.

The backbone of the band is the combination of Zach Goode's vocals and Jason Vick on drums. Zach has a very good voice, he's not a screamer, and can carry a lot of emotion in his voice. Jason, on the other hand, is a pretty sick drummer, there are some very nice fills, transitions, and some excellent double bass work. Not to be forgotten is the guitar duo of Jeremy Ronstadt and James Albers, and Rice on bass.

Bottomline. This is a very good album. It is the kind of record that reveals itself over a few listens, as new aspects become clear. This band has a bright future. It is not a metal album, nor is it rock, it has an alt-rock flavor peppered with other styles. Promising debut album.

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