The Zimmerman Note - New Deception (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Zimmerman Note

New Deception (2005)


It seems as if there is no ground left to cover, no original concepts to be thought of or capitalized on in the world of heavy music. It's all been done, and done again. Bands like Isis and Dillinger Escape Plan give hope that the well hasn't run dry, and that there's no concepts and style variations to be expanded on, but for the vast lot of bands playing metalcore, grindcore, black metal and the like, the dead horse is long since beaten.

So when listening to an album that's heavily infused by the Scandanavian black metal sound, it's important to take it at face value. We know it's not original, but past that, how's it sound? In the case of the Zimmermann Note, pretty damn well.

Sounding relatively close in sound to the defunct As Hope Dies, TZN rip through five songs with complete ferocity and reckless abandon. All the staples are present: Double bass, breakdowns, and searing vocals, but somehow they retain a real fresh, interesting dichotomy in the songs that make everything worth a second, third, and fourth listen. It's just difficult to pin down, as you know nothing different is taking place, but it's still relatively engaging. "Onyx Tide" wastes no time in establishing itself in an aggressive manner, with clean and distorted guitars both raging as lead singer Travis French's versatile range is explored. "New Deception" starts out with some terrific clean riffing, and it only increased in intensity from there. Avoiding a pitfall many bands make, the Zimmermann Note opt to not include any sung vocals, so there's nothing to bog down the overall flow. Nothing but relentless work on the guitar as well as the drums.

Things don't truly let loose however until the chaotic "Pascal's Wager," in which the band just completely lets loose, and all bets are off. No doubt the fastest, heaviest song on the album, each member of the band is playing their respective instrument as hard and as fast as possible, but it still sounds extremely tight, and the undercurrents of clean guitar contrast the pounding dissonance better than any other single spot on the album. When the chaos does finally subside, it is carried out by the sounds of a church hymn being sung. There's no religious overtones to speak of, but that kind of singing really goes against the grain of what was played previously.

For fans of the genre, picking up New Deception is an absolute no-brainer. The speed of As Hope Dies, combined with the power of Darkest Hour, and a little bit of At the Gates for good measure, and you've got a healthy dose of metal aimed at nothing more than kicking you in the ass. Mission successful.