Finding a boring, run of the mill gothic band from Portugal is a rare thing in my book. My encounters include gothic flagship MOONSPELL, newcomer AVA INFERI, the forgotten monicker that was HEAVENWOOD and this band. THANATOSCHIZO have been active in the scene back in their homeland for over a decade now, which surprised me cause I´ve never heard of them, not even once, and yet this release just oozes of vibrant Gothic Death Metal like it´s a fresh new genre again.
The band´s fourth output “Zoom Code”, is that type of album that demands a great sound. Experienced producer Tommy Newton has given the songs the right sound, alluring, attacking and ethereal. As for the songwriting, I´m floored, I´m... just floored, I honestly didn´t expect this much. The band consists of six feverish individual songwriters that know their way around traditional Extreme Metal, but also have a surging need to go outside and experiment, and there´s plenty of that.
Picking out a single track and say it´s better than the rest seems pointless, cause they all have heavy and atmospheric qualities within them. As much as I´m enjoying this rather surprising form of almost avantgardish Death Metal, I also need to stress that their experimentation feels kinda one-dimensional, I would´ve loved one or two lush acoustic numbers to break the constant sonic atmospheres that assault the ears.
Both vocalists (there´s growling and clean singing) work well together amidst the playful and atmospheric chaos. The female singer has a pretty stable voice and pulls some great harmonies on almost every track. Far from being the greatest voices you´ll hear in your life, you can´t argue with the ambitious performances that fit quite well into a band of their current stature.
I keep picturing LACUNA COIL redoing their “In A Reverie” album with a more experimental and progressive approach, somewhere inside I´m sure I (and others no doubt) would find several moments that would easily resemble the songs on “Zoom Code”.
(Online June 23, 2008)