ZENO – Zeno

ZENO - Zeno


MTM Music
Release Date: November 8, 2004

Guitars: B+
Bass: C
Percussion: C
Vocals: B
Lyrics: C
Recording Quality: B+
Originality: C
Overall Rating: C

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Zeno, the artist, is actually named after guitarist Zeno Roth, who is the younger brother of Uli Jon Roth of Scorpions fame. Zeno, the CD, is actually a re-release of the 1986 LP of the same name. This re-release features the original album, completely remixed and remastered, two bonus tracks, and three unreleased versions of the songs, “Signs On The Sky,” “Don’t Tell The Wind,” and “Love Will Live.”

“Eastern Sun” kicks the release off in fine fashion with a guitar intro that will have you wondering which Roth brother is doing the playing. This is actually one of the heavier tracks on the CD, along with “Signs On The Sky” and “Don’t Count Me Out.” “Eastern Sun,” like many tracks on this release, contains a biting guitar solo by Zeno. Zeno never gives in to over-done guitar histrionics by any stretch of the imagination. He shows excellent restraint by building a solo’s crescendo up to the point that you expect him to unleash a flurry of notes, and then all of a sudden stops, leaving the listener feeling cheated and expecting more. A lot of his bends are what you would expect from a younger brother of Uli Jon Roth. While similarities do exist in each Roth’s playing, Zeno is by no means a carbon copy.

Unfortunately, on most tracks, Zeno’s guitar playing actually saves the songs from becoming pure mediocre, AOR fanfare material. The music is reminiscent of many of the late 80’s bands (e.g., Trixter and Firehouse) that littered MTV’s cable network airwaves, replete with multi-layered choruses, keyboards, and slow to mid-tempo love songs. Tracks like “A Little More Love,” “Far Away,” and “Emergency” would be average songs without Zeno’s guitar. The majority of the lyrics are sugarcoated and are mostly about love and relationships.

The majority of the additional tracks are “earlier versions” of songs that appeared on the album. They succeed in delivering a raunchier version of the released versions, which given your tastes may not be a bad thing. The newly released track “Don’t Count Me Out” is blues-ier, and is actually one of the heavier tracks on the release, due in part to its raunchier production. “How Can I Know,” on the other hand, is more mainstream AOR fanfare.

The bottom line is, this release is chock full of well-produced, mainstream AOR inspired music led by tasteful, melodic guitar playing, and Zeno borders close to the edge of being proclaimed a “guitar god.” It’s money well spent if you like that type of music, just don’t expect a full blown “Metal” release by any means.


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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