review - 02.20.2010 18:05

A less abrasive experimental skate punk sound marks the overall theme for the late 2009 release, MANGA ROCK.

A winter breath of obscurity brushes dusty trails of a dark, sepia toned scene at a gothic carnival which pans the first few seconds of I'll Give You All. Quickly diminishing, it slathers into a typical rock song with the usual synthesizers and experimental sounds in the backing tracks and vocals. Basking in a heavy undertone, a sense of independence within the lyrics is flourished through adolescent pride.

Zinc first utters the line: “When I was making love to you, I fell asleep,” heard in the first verse of In a Waking Dream. The tempo upgrades from its relaxing beginning. The song is light, openhearted and easy to please - just as much as the rest of the tracks, although unfortunately, the tracks sound all too much the same. However, the remix for In a Waking Dream contains a more lively approach than the original version.

Satori fuses traditional Middle Eastern music with classic rock, projecting the image of love and peace. It begins with a light, repeating melody on acoustic guitar and billowing vocals before Zinc growls right at the progression of the chorus. The heaviness of their sound is thrown into the background, paired with echoes of Zinc’s voice. It then backs down to silence. The remix for this track is just as good as the original, if not better. It drives the Middle Eastern sound further into the mix, bouncing between the listener’s ears and circumnavigating their heads in unearthly echoes.

Still continuing with the same overall sound is America, the lyrics deal with “the bad boys of America” in all of its glory. Piano lightens the subject matter as the song presents the idea of how relevant the USA is in present day society and crime. The stanza “Don’t you desire to be free?” suggests that despite freedom in the Land of the Free, the nation sporadically lacks a voice, and the only way to deal with the unresolved anger is to vent. Veronica takes on a slightly different tack, roaring into a gothic/industrial sound with subtle undertones of Celtic singing during the sensual growl of Zinc’s voice. Singing in the upper falsetto range, Zinc screeches coarsely as if someone were amputating his limbs with vigor; the expression in the song represents his pain. Chants of "la la la" frame the chorus, creating equilibrium within the drowsy mood.

Underground slathers a tinge of a psychedelic country into the tempo, while maintaining the rock style ZAMZA enjoys producing. The heaviness apparent in the track is akin to the mood in Veronica.

Most of the tracks on the album, with the exception of Veronica, the beginning of Satori and the four remixes, churns out the same result. ZAMZA possess the same qualities a Japanese Green Day would and has just as much success. MANGA ROCK contains four remixes - Satori, In a Waking Dream, Why and Manga. It is a must for any fan of Japanese music.
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