ZEROZONIC – Dead On Arrival (Daniel Olaisen series)

ZEROZONIC – Dead On Arrival (Daniel Olaisen series)

  • Rating: 4 / 6

Having finished, for now, the Blood Red Throne chapter of the prolific Daniel "Död" "Paisy" Olaisen series until it’s time for "Fit To Kill" review, I now return to his 2nd biggest project, the thrash/groove metal ensemble Zerozonic for the incredibly powerful and expertly executed debut.

"Dead On Arrival" is an album that is very high on energy, excellent guitarwork, powerful riffing and decent songwriting, where Daniel reigns supreme now Darrell Lance "Dimebag" Abbott (Pantera), now Charles Michael Schuldiner (Death), for the two of the biggest and most palpable influences. Leo Moracchiolli vocals give an impression as if ex-Pantera’s Philip Hansen Anselmo recorded them himself, but he also channels Jeffrey Phillip "Zakk Wylde" Wielandt and Robert Bartleh "Robert Wolfgang Zombie" Cummings on "Stripped" and "Mr. Funny Man" as well as Michael Allen "Mike" Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) on "We’re All On Fire", and then the guitars automatically rip in the vein of those artists.

As for Daniel Olaisen, the single Zerozonic guitarist, he could stand in for the tragically gone Dimebag ("Back To Me", "17 Mistakes" solos!) should Pantera ever reactivate, (which is as likely as Hillary Rotham Clinton becoming the 46th U.S. President). He is an incredibly versatile and fiercely skilled guitarist who seemingly easily comes up with those power chords Pantera was known for on their last 5 albums, but he can usher in suddenly a spectacular solo worthy of Schuldiner (Disembodied) or a beautifully ballad-ic acoustic riff (Searching). On that note, the ballad "Zero", in the vein of Pantera’s "This Love" or Annihilator’s "Phoenix Rising" (the latter one of my personal favorites) with a heavily Hypocrisy-ic powerful epic chorus, is easily the best track on the album. Zerozonic included a radio edit of it as a bonus and I must say I prefer the long version. Above all, Daniel clearly gives an impression of a man having fun while making music, now referencing Pantera’s "I’m Broken" (Searching), Anthrax’s "Born Again Idiot" and Carcass’ "Keep On Rotting In The Free World" or classic Machine Head (Temptations), while making his very own music. This takes talent and Daniel has it coming out of his ears. No wonder one or two projects were not enough to make it fully flesh!

"Dead On Arrival" gives an impression of listening to a 90s thrash/groove record not just in terms of many power chords and hooks, but, too, in terms of inconsistent songwriting. Not many albums of that time were flawless in this regard and Zerozonic follows that tradition with most of the 2nd half of the disc. While "17 Mistakes" evokes Testament’s "The Gathering" and "We’re All On Fire" Suicidal Tendencies, for a different approach, the 2nd half tracks seem rather one-dimensional in comparison to the 1st, with the exception of the Black Sabbath-ian excellent "Searching" recalling Prong, with more twists and turns similar to "Zero".

As fun listening experience as "Dead On Arrival" is, it is not a consistent effort in terms of songwriting, neither is any debut expected to be. It’s rather like "Kill ‘Em All" or "Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good" in that it signals a potential for greatness by beating you with within an inch of your life with its energy and raw power while demonstrating incredible command of the instruments. Zerozonic pulls this style very well and the songwriting? Well, that will come later.