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Zello: First Chapter, Second Verse

Sounding immediately familiar – yet more than likely never heard by most people reading this review – the music of Sweden's Zello recalls Kansas and Magnum in their prime. That makes sense, considering that First Chapter, Second Verse has roots that stretch back to 1979 before it was finally released as Zello's self-titled debut in 1996. But then singer P-O Saether got the idea to re-record the album, this time with stronger sonics and -- lo and behold -- guitars. (Hmm, I wonder what the original version sounded like.) The result is the shiny-sounding, newly rerecorded, reissued and retitled First Chapter, Second Verse. It's another powerful vocal-oriented release from Lion Records, a label best known for its instrumental progressive-metal albums but slowly gaining a following with bands like Empire, Smeer, Moonlight Comedy, Dogpound and Sun Caged. Amidst the instrumental interludes here are feel-good melodies surrounded by Moog, violin, strong vocals and harmonies reminiscent of Steve Walsh and David Coverdale – and, yes, plenty of guitar. If you're in the mood for classic slices of progressive hard rock with tinges of AOR steeped in a thick Seventies and Eighties vibe, you could do a lot worse than this chapter and verse.


Track Listing:
1) Fairy Queen
2) Little Eve
3) Hold On
4) Shades of the Crying Children
5) The Children Are Crying
6) Kelpie
7) The Angels Have Fallen
8) The Humming
9) Voyager
10) FlojtBenkes Resa
11) Traffic Jam
12) Through Clouds of Virgin Angels
13) Hold One (Live)
Total Time: 51:49

Added: December 2nd 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Lion Music
Hits: 2873
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Zello: First Chapter, Second Verse
Posted by Brad Pingèl, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-05-10 11:12:21
My Score:

From listening to ZelloFirst Chapter, Second Verse, I didn't get the feeling that I was transferring back into Prog roots. Instead, I left with a feeling of being owed something. The recording for the vocals was very good, and the singer's voice was the best part of the whole work. But the rest of the mix and songs themselves were too dramatic even for Progs to appreciate. I agree with the commenter about the keyboards; they needed to be something else. The guitar was pretty cool until the keys drowned them out. Certainly no YES, Kansas, or KC--some of the real roots of prog music. My overall feeling is that this needed an outside producer to mold a better final project. There is talent here, but (as Dream Theater should concede) without a confident independent ear driving the machine, the machine stops. Should have called Mutt.


» Reader Comments:

Zello: First Chapter, Second Verse
Posted by Anonymous on 2005-02-12 15:48:23
My Score:

The voice sounds very much like Yngwie stuff (which is good), but the music leaves much to be desired. The over emphasis of Europe-like keyboards drove me far away from this project. I would have also preferred the singer to sing in his native tongue rather than the bastardised english he used. This is one album that is as hokey as they come. Not my choice.




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