Mini-Review Monday: Ideal Zero – “In Perfect Darkness”

Ideal Zero In Perfect Darkness

Ideal Zero – In Perfect Darkness

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Florida-based Ideal Zero is one of the few American bands who are willing to blend alternative rock with electro-rock, pop, and metal influences. They debuted their refreshing sound on their 2012 self-titled EP and quickly enchanted listeners with catchy melodies and captivating musical contrasts. I enjoyed Ideal Zero so much that it earned a spot on my Top 10 Albums of 2012 list. Ever since then, I’ve been looking forward to hearing a longer release from Ideal Zero and finding out what else they had to offer.

Enter Ideal Zero’s first full-length album, In Perfect Darkness. This CD shows Ideal Zero exploring their sound’s many angles and toning down the metallic edge from their EP (possibly because they have one guitarist instead of two now). Some tracks, including the moody lead single “Before We Drown,” still crunch with intensity. Others offer a lighter, more playful take. Listeners will find themselves exhilarated by the cartwheeling rhythms and synths of “Now That We Know” and touched by the sensitive arrangements and lyrics of “Walls” and “My Last Request.” My personal favorite, however, is “Little Blue Man.” It drifts on simple, effervescent soundscapes that let Irina Nicula’s imaginative lyrics be the focal point of the song.

While I like In Perfect Darkness enough to listen to it all the way through, it hasn’t left the same impact on me that Ideal Zero did. The EP contained brilliant hooks, memorable melodies, and lyrics exuding cleverness and vulnerability. In Perfect Darkness reaches those heights, but not quite as often. What In Perfect Darkness does accomplish, however, is reminding the listener that light always follows dark and hope always prevails – themes that match Ideal Zero’s evolved musical approach. And not only do I like neat artistic tie-ins, but I also like it when a record makes me smile. That’s why I give In Perfect Darkness my stamp of approval.

Highlights: “Little Blue Man,” “Before We Drown,” “Now That We Know”

Haven’t heard of Ideal Zero before? Check out their music if you’re a fan of Evanescence, The Birthday Massacre, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Muse, and The Killers.

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Deciding whether to buy In Perfect Darkness from Amazon? Let me know whether you found my review helpful by clicking here and selecting either “Yes” or “No.”

Coming Soon: Next week’s Mini-Review Monday will be a change in flavor – Celtic instead of rock or metal! Stay tuned for a review of David Arkenstone’s latest album Celtic Garden.

Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

As you may already know, I’m celebrating 5 years of writing for Sonic Cathedral by counting down my 20 favorite artists covered at the SC WebZine. I revealed Artists #20 through #16 last week. Today, it’s time to reveal #15 through #11. So let’s continue!

By the way, a big apology that the artist photos in the previous SC Retrospective article. I’m not sure what happened in the uploading process, since they were all of decent size to begin with.

NOTE: If you’d prefer to catch the daily version of the countdown, please visit and “like” my official Facebook page.

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Review of Seven Kingdoms’ “The Fire Is Mine” at Sonic Cathedral

It’s no secret that I’ve been looking forward to Seven Kingdoms’ new album The Fire Is Mine all year long. So as soon as the release date (October 9th) was announced, I volunteered for the review faster than you can say, “Yes, please!” I knew that Seven Kingdoms, a female-fronted power metal band from Deland, Florida, had planned to shed the remaining death metal influences from their early days. (Their previous album, Seven Kingdoms, features sporadic male grunting.) And Seven Kingdoms didn’t deviate from those plans. The Fire Is Mine is straight-up power metal with lots of grit and fire, as well as a frontwoman (Sabrina Valentine) who’s more confident in her role than ever before. You’ll have to read my review for my entire verdict, though. *wink*

Click here to read my review of Seven Kingdoms’ The Fire Is Mine.

New Review at Sonic Cathedral: Seven Kingdoms – “Seven Kingdoms”

What do you think when you hear the words “female-fronted power metal”?  Nightwish must come to mind.  Maybe Edenbridge, Krypteria, Amberian Dawn, and HolyHell, too.  All of these bands have shaped female-fronted power metal as being bombastic, symphonic, and driven by a classically trained female singer – and as a result, whenever we heard someone describe a band as female-fronted power metal, we think, “Uh oh, I think I know exactly how this one will sound.”  Well, you can’t say about about Floridian power metallers Seven Kingdoms.  They’ve taken pages out of Iced Earth’s and Blind Guardian’s books, opting for a guitar-licking style with fantasy-inspired lyrics and thrash, progressive, and death metal influences.  Thus, saying that Seven Kingdom’s self-titled second album is different from other releases in this genres is a huge understatement – and one that fans shouldn’t miss.

Click here to read my review of “Seven Kingdoms.”