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Czar - "No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive" (CD)

Czar - "No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive" CD cover image

"No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive" track listing:

1. Whorchard
2. Aortic Flower
3. Black in Black
4. Fuming Rotter
5. Lurvy
6. She's So Heavy
7. Spitter Attack
8. Megafauna
9. Priestess
10. Empty Thrones

Reviewed by on February 26, 2014

"Like a new world order that you didn’t know you needed, this Czar is working its way inside your brain right now, tunneling into the recesses of your already somewhat-jumbled mind…"

Oh, sure, you’ve heard about the revolutions in Venezuela and the Ukraine right now. You’ve probably heard about how snipers are shooting at their own citizens and terrorizing them with shotguns on motorcycles, shaking things up a bit. If you’re not aware of the uprising and subsequent takeover of something much closer to home, however, be informed: a new Czar has been put in place to oversee the functioning of your ears and their subsequent control of your bodily functions. Like a new world order that you didn’t know you needed, this 2nd full-length Czar is working its way inside your brain right now, tunneling into the recesses of your already somewhat-jumbled mind -- “No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive.”

Those who prefer bands such as Deftones, Mastodon, and Fear Factory will have a much easier time grasping this new album, which is a blessing, seeing as how resistance is not an option. Fortunately, this new Czar is much like the last Czar, but only stronger. The mesmerizing sway of “Fuming Rotter,” with its alternating time signatures, will force your head in a downward trajectory before arcing it back to its starting position and will repeat the process a good many times. Despite the name of the album, which is a clearly psychopathic solution to the problem of loneliness, there are no worries about overhearing similar lyrics -- the vocals are merely in the mix as an effect and can rarely be understood.

“Lurvy” provides a pummeling rhythm section carefully designed to bash your ear drums further down into your skull, allowing for a deeper enjoyment that you somehow knew you wanted, preparing you for the excellent Beatles cover of “She’s So Heavy.” Truly, nobody’s ever managed to heat up the Beatles to its boiling point and get something so thoroughly delicious while not overcooking it. “Aortic Flower” unfolds its messy beauty and blooms into a galloping speedster of a song. “Megafauna” and “Spitter Attack” show off drummer Dan Brill’s amped-up technicality and penchant for organization over chaos.

The method of attack on this particular album involves the guitars of Brian Elza and Jason Novak extensively, whereby both play in different tunings and harmonize with each other. This usually involves riffing on low root notes juxtaposed over various higher harmonies ringing out, making for truly unique chord shapes that drive the rhythm over distorted vocal textures. The only weak point is that the vocals are muffled much of the time, although you’ll find that the guitars do a good job of filling in the gap on their own. You want this Czar. You don’t know why. Eventually, you will need this Czar, though you might not ever fully understand it.

Highs: Uniqueness of chord shapes and melodies, as well as willingness to stay off the well-walked path.

Lows: Vocal intelligibility.

Bottom line: A sophomore album of fun jagged riffing that's anything but sophomoric.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)