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Control_Z - System Failure Review

by Dan Upton

Let's get this out of the way right up front: despite the computer reference in both the band name and album title, Control_Z is pretty far removed from any kind of computer music. In fact, the opening track "Throw Away" wastes little time getting into a grooving riff that immediately reminded me of "Welcome to the Jungle." Not a bad start, intrigues me as to what else the CD has to offer. Some overly dramatic, overly vibratoed vocals hit me as an unpracticed Stratovarius clone, but they're salvaged by grittier vocals when the guitar's crunch kicks back in. A not-bad, not-great solo, come back to the chorus, and we're out. Okay, maybe the first song isn't the strongest, maybe there's more in store later...

But sadly, not really. The music strikes me as a mash-up of Guns'n'Roses with Godsmack, and the vocals lie somewhere between the proggy power metal style of Stratovarius and grittier straight-up hard rock of Godsmack or Black Label Society. The net result is that there are some pretty cool riffs to be had on here, some interesting drum parts, and the occasional bass fill that jumps out. The vocals show good enough influences, but the influences are actually never particularly well invoked and instead just sound forced. This is particularly painfully obvious in the choruses of songs like "Primitive Business" or "Suffer," where the vocals sound like little more than a mockery of their predecessors and destroy any chance of taking the lyrical matter seriously.

In a more general sense, a lot of the music ends up being rather boring. There are some good riffs and the occasional breakdown, such as the drum-heavy close to "Blame," but it's more often the case that I hear something good and realize that most of a song has gone by since the last time anything happened that grabbed my attention. The band's bio talks of measuring up to the "new millennium standard" and having "a sound as refreshing as the technology used in it's [sic] creation," but the end result is that they should have hit control+z a few more times during recording. Get it for the riffs if you want, but otherwise this is something you can pretty safely avoid.

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Control_Z - System Failure

Label:Sonic Sword Records

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