HUMAN ZOO – Eyes Of The Stranger (2011)

HUMAN ZOO - Eyes Of The Stranger (2011)

The Human Zoo are back with their third studio album since 2006, “Eyes Of The Stranger”, and they’re faithful to their trademark sound; glaring Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock infused in the backbone of the music, and yes, the unique saxophones solos are still here.

When I first heard the band a few years ago I was attracted to them because of the unique use of the sax, mostly as a ‘second guitar’, which adds a colorful texture to the songs and a distinctive style.

Human Zoo is in the same ligue as Gotthard, Coldspell or The Poodles but more melodic.

One thing that the band has improved is the construction of instant and catchy choruses, some of them really sing-along beauties.

After a short intro, “The Answer” shows clearly this statement. This is a flashy melodic rocker with a contagious chorus plenty of vocal harmonies. Very good backing vocals, strong riff and muscular rhythm section. Follower “Gimme Your Time” has the same vibe, this time more european in its conception.

“To The Top” has an american hard rock edge, a fun stadium anthem that reminds you the first Firehouse. The big and polished production makes this track a real winner.

The euro – AOR midtempo pace of “Everything Changes” is another highlight. This is a pretty simple track but works very well with the mellow saxophone especially, plus lead singer Seeburger atonement glues itself to this track very tight. Very nice melody.

Title track “Eyes Of The Stranger” has a bass line eery similar to Queensryche circa ‘Empire’, also the chorus, but the overall sound itself is definitely european.

Probably the strongest track on the CD is “Fall In Love”, an arena like anthem. The choruses, the sax and a super cool lead guitar trenches the song forward with an undeniably killer appeal.

The thunderous drums, guitar sound and refrain of “World Behind You” have a very strong swedish modern melodic hard rock style.

Some electronic percussion can be heard on the semi-ballad “Hold & Care” where Bad Habit comes in mind. Great tune.

“Want It – Love It – Like It” has and immediate hard rock impact ala Gypsy Rose, while “Welcome To Paradise” is the more heavier, guitar oriented track of the whole album.

Last track “10.000 Years Ago” rocks with melody, where the chorus punch you ears constantly. Sounds like Last Autumn’s Dream on steroids.

This third installment of Human Zoo comes hot on the heals of their solid sophomore release titled ‘Over The Horizon’ back in 2007.

“Eyes Of The Stranger” is stronger, positioning the band among the best in the genre. Nothing like some good Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock, and these dudes can fit right into the scene seamlessly with some of the other bands going strong there now.

Good songwriting, nice (sometimes really original) arrangements and great muscianship solidifies the band’s new album.

One of the remarkable aspects is the truly exceptional crisp production, big and clear.

Rockin’ album.

01 – Amy & Allison’s Memories (intro)

02 – The Answer

03 – Gimme Your Time

04 – To The Top

05 – Everything Changes

06 – Eyes Of The Stranger

07 – Fall In Love

08 – World Behind You

09 – Hold & Care

10 – Want It – Love It – Like It

11 – Welcome To Paradise

12 – 10.000 Years Ago

Thomas Seeburger – vocals

Ingolf Engler – guitars

Zarko Mestrovic – keyboards

Boris Matakovic – saxophone

Markus Ratheiser – bass

Kevin Klimesch – drums


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