Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Review: The Zimmermann Note - New Deception (2005)

The Zimmermann Note [ MySpace ]
New Deception
(2005)

The Zimmermann Note was a telegram sent by Germany's Foreign Secretary, Arthur Zimmermann, attempting to entice Mexico to side with Germany should the United States enter WWI. In exchange for making war on the US, Germany would return to Mexico territories it lost during the Mexican-American War - namely Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The telegram was intercepted and, when made public, became one of the catalysts which catapulted the United States into the war against Germany and her allies. Perhaps hoping to make as much of an impact on the metal scene as the telegram made on the global scene, several extreme metallers from Pittsburgh have joined together and adopted The Zimmermann Note as their moniker.

Featuring ex-members of Commit Suicide and Better Off Dead, The Zimmermann Note (TZN) blends together elements of death and black metal with a hardcore foundation to deliver what is pretty much standard fare for the metalcore genre. On New Deception, TZN's sophomore release, the band makes an overt attempt to bridge together melody and brutality but, ultimately, it's the ferocity that overpowers any chance this EP has of creating something more than just passing interest. Guitarists Joe and Damian put together some highly technical riffs and aren't afraid to lay down a crisp solo here and there. They shine on the more thrashy riffs of the title track and "Grace in the Depths of Ignorance" - the highlight of the EP - but they rely too much on blistering speed and so fail to consistently put together well-constructed riffs. The beginning of "Gluttonous Prayer" shows the band capable of altering pace, with a very Slayer-esque intro featuring an ominous lead and clean vocals from frontman Travis French. It's not long, however, before the blast beats and frantic riffs return. Another overused staple of the genre is French's howling/shrieking vocal style. A bit more reliance on clean vocals may have helped add depth, but so much about New Deception is generic that a lot more would have to be improved before TZN could expand their audience beyond the Hot Topic crowd.

It's been three years since the release of New Deception and TZN have yet to follow it up with anything, although the band is still active. French has been replaced behind the mic, which may indicate a change in direction for the band. Hopefully so.

Track Listing
1 Onyx Tide 4:06
2 New Deception 3:30
3 Pascal's Wager 3:54
4 Gluttonous Prayer 4:26
5 Grace in the Depths of Ignorance 3:50
Total Runtime 19:46



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