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.

My Favorite Music of 2012

Hello!

I hope your New Year has gotten off to a promising start. The end of 2012 was a busy time for me, between various writing projects, the holidays, and other things. However, I made sure to consider which albums from 2012 I considered as some of my favorites.

I always make two lists: a personal one that combines all of the music genres I listen to, and one for Sonic Cathedral that focuses exclusive on female-fronted rock and metal. Now that the Sonic Cathedral Best of 2012 article is online, it’s time for me to share my picks for both lists! And – ready for a shocker? – for the first time in a couple years, my #1 picks for both lists are different albums. Then again, that just goes to show how incredible some of 2012’s albums were.

So, here are the lists!

My Personal Top 10 Albums of 2012

Anathema Weather Systems cover2

1. Anathema – Weather Systems

2. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit

3. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky

4. Xandria – Neverworld’s End

5. Astral Tears – Hypnotic

6. Lyriel – Leverage

7. Kamelot – Silverthorn

8. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero EP

9. Atoma – Skylight

10. Arjen Lucassen – Lost In The New Real

My Sonic Cathedral Top 10 of 2012
(click here to read the full article by the SC staff)

BTB-Booklet v3.indd

1. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit

2. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky

3. Xandria – Neverworld’s End

4. Astral Tears – Hypnotic

5. Lyriel – Leverage

6. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero EP

7. Leah – Of Earth & Angels

8. Venturia – Dawn Of A New Era

9. Vajra – Pleroma

10. Akoma – The Other Side EP

Two New EP Reviews at Sonic Cathedral

My two latest reviews at Sonic Cathedral are on EPs from two very different American bands. And both were quite good!

First up is the Chicago-based hard rock / heavy metal quartet Burning Eve. I discovered this band after checking out this year’s Dame-Nation 2012 line-up. While I couldn’t attend the festival (also in Chicago), I was still interested in hearing what the highlighted acts sounded like. In the end, I liked Burning Eve’s self-titled debut EP enough to buy it and tell the world about it. All three songs comprise of great musical and melodic hooks, charismatic vocals, and a wickedly in-your-face approach. And I’ll quote one of my favorite observations about this EP: “…[the] songs are concise and catchy enough to earn heavy radio rotation without compromising the music’s edge and power.” Not a bad start quality-wise for a relatively new band, right?

Click here to read my review of Burning Eve.

The more recent of the two EP reviews is on Ideal Zero, another newcomer band from Orlando, Florida. This quartet has already developed a rather unique sound: heavy alternative rock driven by enthralling vocals, heartfelt lyrics and bold choice in subject matter, and layers upon layers of keyboards. It’s not quite electro-rock, but not your average North American hard rock, either. Normally I try not to give EPs a rating higher than an 8.5 out of 10, since I like to hear more than just a few songs to realize just how good (or terrible) an artist can be. But Ideal Zero’s five-track, self-titled debut EP isn’t the least bit terrible. In fact, it was the first real test for my EP-rating rule – and it won. Ideal Zero is officially my album for this summer and, in my opinion, it’s “one of 2012’s most breathtaking surprises.”

Click here to read my review of Ideal Zero.

More reviews and other projects are in the works, so stay tuned!

~ Sara