It normally takes a lot of craziness to write an utterly amazing masterpiece. In music there are lots of eccentric musicians to be found, being member of quite a lot of famous bands. I name you Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Axl Rose (Guns ‘n Roses) and Timo Tolkki (Stratiovarius) as examples. Amongst them is Finn Zierler, the composing force behind his solo project Zierler. With his hands on the keys and amazing musicians invited to play the rest album, the result could only be an amazing record like ‘ESC’.
But progressive music is not the only fascination of Finn Zierler. He also tries to incorporate elements of cinematic horror in his music. On ‘ESC’ there is a futuristic story of humans becoming robots, of being addicted to the machines you use and slowly be corrupted by them. If you want to see how that looks, give the trailer below a whirl, it holds some very realistic pictures of a terrible future.
On this mechanic and internet based record there is room for a couple of extraordinary musicians. The one that really baffled me was the vocalist. If you imagine the voice of greats like Jorn Lande (ex-Masterplan), Russel Allen (Symphony X) and Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) combined in one person, that’s Kelly Sundown Carpenter. He completely gives his all, he is, as Zierler himself calls him, vocally schizophrenic. Combined with live bass player Truls Haugen he dominates the vocals on ‘ESC’.
Opening track ‘A New Beginning’ really summarizes this album. The strange bits of music, the sudden changes of tempo, the magnificent keyboards of Zierler himself, it prepares the listener of what’s to come. It reminded me a lot of another eccentric musician, Devin Townsend.
With an awfully tight performance by ex-Halford drummer Bobby Jarzombek and Scar Symmetry bass and guitar player Per Nilsson, this album proves to be pure gold.
The only thing that bothered me while listening to the tracks on ‘ESC’ are the sudden changes. You could be listening to some nice, soft piano sounds, and without hesitation the drums would go and do some skillful, rhythm changing stuff. It would completely catch you off guard, which could easily be written this way, but a listener deserves a break as well. Why can’t there be an amazing, consistent riff that offers us a chance to catch our breath? It’s not on this record, that’s for sure.
Classical music is one of those other interests of Finn Zierler. It comes through in every single track on the record and gives it such a special sound. The opening moments of ‘Married To The Cause’ give the track a great diversity. Amplified piano notes and heavy riffs and drums, the way it’s written, everything just seem to match together very well. On ‘No Chorus’ Finn Zierler shows his lack of interest in basic song structures. The track is all about the fact that it has no chorus, just like most of the album. “Why do anything the normal way, while we can do it the right way?” Exactly that.
Take your time, sit down in a cozy chair, take ‘ESC’ on your lap, start the music and dig deep into this amazingly progressive record. With an utterly brilliant performance by every single musician present and the outstanding vocal delivery of Kelly Sundown Carpenter this album is one that has to be heard by every single fan of progressive metal. ‘ESC’ is a statement of the current generation of progressive musicians. As an eccentric man ‘Married To The Cause’, Zierler managed to make an all-round incredible record.
- A New Beginning
- Darkness Delight
- Dark To The Bone
- Evil Spirit
- Married To The Cause
- No Chorus
- You Can’t Fix Me No More