ZCluster - The Rapture
Released off label 2022
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
Fittingly so does industrial rock / alternative project ZCluster begin their album “The Rapture” with the title-song itself. A very eerie and somewhat noisy synth line that lasts for around fourteen seconds lead me into raw and powerful slamming drums. Backed by a synth that equated to that of a motorcycle being revved over and over again did clean yet emotional vocals hit heavy. Throughout all of the songs did Sai Lillith express a vocal range from mids to highs – fairly impressive stuff for the band. The title track also exceeded at showing how ZCluster moves from gloomy verse to exciting and guitar backed chorus.
The bass guitar is ‘Haunting’ is rather ominous and fitting of the mood, with backing synths echoing that creepy atmosphere. Lillith’s vocals follow a pattern of somewhat spoken word, somewhat sung as they begin off in a mid-range and ascend their chords to the heavens. ZCluster is excellent at showcasing their love for industrial as well as alternative music; echoing that of ‘The Rapture’, the verse keeps in this gloomy industrial tone while the chorus runs straight into alternative territory. While not my preferred genre, they do a damned good job.
‘Judas’ has twilight, sparkling synth notes mixed with excellent instrumentation. Keeping industrial percussion alive with all the twists and turns that come with it do they blend a mixture of powerful genres. I do think that Lillith’s vocals were at times out of touch with the song, going too high for the music that was given. ZCluster dives right into industrial metal territory on ‘Death Drive’, as if they were trying to emulate a Rob Zombie masterpiece in both aesthetic and tone. Heavy guitar riffs break all Hell loose while during the verse do they craft a twisted industrial soundscape.
‘Shadow (Version)’ sees ZCluster make a bit of a cinematic ballad in a sense, trading in a lot of their rougher tendencies for brooding beats and scaling synth signatures. ‘Vessel’ starts off equally slow, but eventually transforms into an industrial rock single that wouldn’t be out of place if it released in an early 2000s action film. I feel as if by the time I hit ‘The Hunger’ and ‘Monster’, a lot of the tricks of the trade ZCluster brought to the table had been experienced and there was not a whole lot to write home about these ones. While they are good songs, perhaps they just don’t stand out as much as the previous tracks did.
One of my main complaints about “The Rapture” comes from song length. There are times when a five to six-minute song is able to be done, but that also requires there to be multiple parts to a song wherein every minute-and-a-half or two does the music sound like it belongs, but also switches up and tricks the listener. There was hardly ever a moment on “The Rapture” where I felt those five-to-six minutes song was able to trip me up. Be it the title track, ‘Haunting’, ‘Death Drive’, ‘Shadow (Version)’, or ‘Vessel’, I found myself wanting to get to the next thing before they were over. I feel as if at least a minute could have been trimmed from each of these singles to make their more compact and increase their replay value.
ZCluster’s “The Rapture” is a ravenous start to their career. And, though I did have a couple of complaints about the album, I still walk away from this with a very, very positive outlook for the duo. They’ve got an excellent vocalist and an excellent producer and from here I can only see them getting better as they continue to find their identity and mature in production. Seven out of ten.Aug 21 2022
Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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