Release date: May 25, 2003

Guitars: B-
Bass: B-
Percussion: B-
Vocals: D
Lyrics: C
Recording Quality: A-
Originality: A-
Overall Rating: B-

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

“We have lost the pleasure of life because the warm summer of our innocent, entertaining youth has finally made way for the cold, stale, adult, winter of everything done a thousand times before…” says the Austrian band The Frozen about themselves on their website. Believe me when I say their song topics and lyrics clearly follow this proclamation. You get the feel after listening to Zero each member of the band could easily be prompted to end it all if you clandestinely slipped these guys a dull razor blade after joining them in choking down a 12-pack of room temperature Bavarian suds!

Zero represents The Frozen’s 4th compilation (sort of – one of the band’s earlier works had production issues still needing attention before it’ll actually be released), and is a 20-minute, 4-track EP. The songs, “Shine in Black,” “Levitate,” “Feelings Are Dead,” and “Disappear,” essentially deal with apathy towards life caused by faded relationships and a lack of gusto towards a bleak and barren reality. To deal with their apathetic purgatory, the song protagonists are prone to reach for the bottle to wash out the pain – but the message is clear that this course of action, at best, is like rubbing a topical analgesic ointment on a compound fracture wound.

The true highlight of this album is the band’s sound and production quality. It’s difficult to describe without getting into gobs of detail, but in sum the sound is uniquely “natural.” There is often a heavy rock sound to the instruments, but the sound of each comes through brilliantly unadulterated. The Frozen has accomplished something I thought wouldn’t be accomplished (or attempted) by a band ever again – more specifically, The Frozen has captured a mildly alternative “garage band” sound without unnaturally forcing the concept (e.g., the Black Crowes), and sans the typical surface noise associated with recordings generated by the forefathers of the garage band style from the 1970’s (e.g., Aerosmith). The best parallel I can provide to analytically describe The Frozen’s sound within Zero is a cross between early Alice Cooper and The Cult.

The weakness of this album is the vocal delivery. As good as the instrumental sound of this album is, that’s how bad the vocal sound comes across. The rendered voice is thick, cumbersome, and often strained … and virtually all of the lyrics are sung in half-ghoulish low octaves. Too bad, because with stronger vocals, this EP would likely get a stellar “A-“ Overall Rating. In the end, though, The Frozen’s original sound and skillful playing make up for this shortfall, and provide a refreshingly entertaining, if not too short, listen.

Track 1, “Shine in Black,” gets my vote for the best song on the EP. It starts with a superb guitar driven groove, which then paces itself along a very methodical drumbeat. Musically, this is possibly the best song I’ve heard in the last 12 months: simple and deliberate, but well layered and mixed. Vocally, this song is the least annoying.

“Levitate” starts out with a soft, repetitive guitar riff, similar to “Love to Love” by UFO, and then moves into a predominantly slow tempo song. When the lyrics begin, the music receives less emphasis, and the awkwardly slow vocal delivery throughout most of the song prevents it from being a success … a true shame because the track starts out so promising.

“Feelings Are Dead” features a great off-key guitar instrumental beginning that is eventually joined by a raucous guitar power chord accompaniment, similar in sound and style to The Cult at their best. The music cooks throughout the song, but the zombie-like vocal presentation again hurts its chances for earning my nomination as song of the year. Musically, this track is almost as good as “Shine in Black.”

“Disappear” begins with a melancholy, bright-sounding chord pattern, which generally carries on through the whole song. Vocally, this song isn’t a complete disaster … and like its other 3 counterparts, the track is musically innovative and interestingly worthwhile.

You owe it to yourself to check out this band … seldom is the music playing field graced with a fresh sound so unobtrusive and straightforward as the sound produced by The Frozen on Zero. It’s not conventional Heavy Metal, but it’s quality heavy rock nonetheless … and certainly worthy of your 20 minutes!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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