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ZONE SIX / VESPERO (The Split Thing) LP/CD

Space rock can be very diverse and varied. This is reflected in this split album where VESPERO from Russia and ZONE SIX from Germany do their best to take the listener to galactic sound spheres that could not be more different. The album kicks off with VESPERO, which tend more likely to an airier and more progressive sound. This is evidenced by three instrumental songs in which keyboards and guitars have an almost equal role. Sometimes, though, the guitar only plays a subsidiary role as for example in 'Nüllus', where symphonic keyboard sounds form the basis for voluptuous excursions to almost ethereal worlds. But before it gets to cheesy, VESPERO changes course and takes the song in a completely different direction. This is due in large part to the excellent rhythm section, who always manages to push the entire band forward with the help of elaborated rhythmic patterns. Especially the drummer does a very good job.

'Clouds' is the next cut full of swirly electronic textures and sophisticated grooves. It reminds me very strongly of Ozric Tentacles' 'Become The Other' album (which is meant as a compliment). 'Lifeless Pillars' is the last song which again derives its dynamism from the energetic drumming but there are also quieter moments in which the keyboards take the lead. As much as I like these three songs, I must say that VESPERO sounds a bit too polished for my taste, and I miss some kind of ferocity. However, they are a very good band and I simply do not belong to the target group - it is as simple as that.

Things change when it comes to ZONE SIX. In contrast to the Russians, ZONE SIX confront the listener with only one song called 'Babapapatantramanta', but it's almost 25 minutes long. Musically, this is really a dark, earthy and heavy trip. This is ensured, among other things, by two basses, effectively acting like two powerful booster in the ZONE SIX spaceship. Together with a dynamic drumming style, they are holding this jam very well together, while guitar and synths guarantee for the necessary sonic ornaments so that the listener can sink and lose himself in this tasteful cosmic jam. I like ZONE SIX better than VESPERO, but nonetheless 'The Split Thing' is a buy recommendation for all space rockers.