ZETAR “Devouring Darkness”
By Dr. Abner Mality
Yes, folks, we got ourselves a genuine Trekker here! ZETAR get their name from the classic Star Trek episode “The Lights of Zetar”, about disembodied alien lights that possess human minds. I admit from the jump, I am a lifelong Trekker, so I’m already intrigued by this outfit.
And the Trek fascination extends much further than just the band name. Every cut here, with the possible exception of the instrumental title track and “Orbital Decay”, is totally inspired by either original Star Trek or Next Generation. I mean, there are tracks called “Landru” and “Ardra” here! So lyrically ZETAR is as cool as hell, but what about the music?
This is some raw, heavy and cosmic sounding death metal. Not another knock-off of INCANTATION or CANNIBAL CORPSE or Swedish death metal, ZETAR seems to be attempting an original sound. Many of the songs revolve around medium paced, majestic sounding riffs that have a grandiose feel. The band is the project of guitarist R.G. and definitely shows the influence of a guy who loves heavy music but has his own take on things. “Return to Talos IV (The Cage)” is heavier than a neutron star and unfolds as an epic that pivots between those slower, soaring riffs and nasty brutality. The drummer is from Ecuador and brings a pounding tribal sound not a million miles away from Iggor of SEPULTURA into the mix while the vocals are a double-tracked blend of harsh black metal rasps and very guttural growls.
The more I listen to this, the more I get into it. “Portal Six-Three” and “Ardra” feature ZETAR at their pounding best, with R.G. tossing in some cool guitar arpeggios and ominous analog synth into the tunes. “Landru” has a bit more melody than most of the other tracks while “The Lights of Zetar” has a kind of dissonance almost like slowed down deathcore. Even the synth-based interludes are not mere filler but have plenty of cosmic menace.
On top of it all are Trek-based lyrics that will have the experienced Trekker doing backflips but also will still appeal to those who have never seen an episode. ZETAR is rough around the edges but that is part of their charm and I can’t wait for these guys to boldly go where no band has gone before.