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'Maelstrom' EP
Release Date: 16th February 2016

Johnny Main

johnny main

Photo ©Pete Sowalsky 2015

The thing with writing for MetalTalk is that you never really know what's round the corner. One day you're sitting at your desk at MetalTalk Towers listening to the new releases from the likes of Slayer or Danzig and then the next day, an EP from a band unknown to you drops into your mailbox.

There's always the moment of trepidation when you wonder what the band actually sound like and whether you'll enjoy them and as you cue up the first track, the tension is tangible.

Thankfully ZenthetiX are a band who are furnished with more than a bit of musical talent and this four track EP is a real delight to listen to.

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Short it may be (running to around sixteen minutes) but if you like a bit of Prog Rock, and at the same time aren't put off by a bit of Alt-Rock, then this Southsea based quartet have tracks that should make you sit up and take notice of them.

We kick off with the title track, 'Maelstrom', with its long intro that wouldn't look out of place in a Sci-Fi movie before the drum and guitar blast out and the track really gets going.

The slow and measured drum beat from Matt Grosvenor is joined by an impressive vocal performance from front man Phil Stoker in what is a very polished number overall. There are no rogue instruments here dominating the sound – just a good solid production from start to finish.

'Fly' is another slow paced number with guitarist Matt Alger leading the way. The guitar punctuates the lyrics and adds an element of immediacy to the song. Stoker really stretches his voice during the choruses and it's another great performance from him.

A touch of acoustic guitar in the middle merges seamlessly into the mix, and you begin to wonder if it was there all the time and you just missed it, until you give the track a re-listen and realise it was actually added into the mix quite late on.

'Blood and Bacardi' is the fastest paced number presented here, and the most aggressive performance of the EP. Stoker's vocals are pushed to the back of the mix giving Alger centre stage, for a change, with his razor sharp guitar riff.

This track is probably my favourite of the four presented here with another touch of acoustic guitar, this time reminiscent of Pink Floyd's 'Dogs' from the 1977 'Animals' album centre stage back once again.

The final track is 'Bending Light' which is a mid-paced effort that has Grosvenor punching out the solid beat. Stoker gives a more subtle performance here while still managing to show his vocal talents as he stretches his voice during the choruses.

There's a quieter middle section too, which is really just drums and vocals before the main guitar riff comes back in during the well orchestrated section.

There's a lot to like here overall, and it'll be interesting to see here the band go next – whether they'll head out on the road or back into the studio, come the New Year.

Whatever they decide, though, I'll be keeping a close eye on them as I've thoroughly enjoyed what I've heard here.

'Maelstrom' EP Track List:
Blood and Bacardi
Bending Light

ZenthetiX are:
Phil Stoker – Vocals/Synths
Matt Alger – Guitar
Dom Barber – Bass Guitar
Matt Grosvenor – Drums

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