Zion Code

Zion Code (Metal) - Ohio

Betrayal is a deep word. By definition it is to expose (one's country, a group, or a person) to danger by treacherously giving information to an enemy. But for Zion Code co-founder Brandon Mitchell, it’s something he has experienced firsthand in recent times. Rather than stopping after the split with his former vocalist and best friend of 17 years. He decided to begin work on a new record as a cathartic experience. “Judas” due out Summer 2022 will be the third album in total for Zion Code and his most personal to date. “Iscariot” the first single is a ten minute opus that defies what Zion Code is typically known for and will be the shape of things to come.

"Saviour" Album Review
The opener "Let There Be Light" is the shortest track on the album and acts like an instrumental intro as it builds atmospheric tones, ambience and Progressive Metal chuggery to set the stage for what's to come. "Outside of Twilight" unleashes fury from the get go. The Iron Maiden vibes are strong as it barrels full speed ahead with riffage and melody. The breakdowns are more modern and brings out a more Metalcore like sound. "Blood of the Tyrants" is slower and more methodical in the start as swirling riffs give way to a blistering, circle pit inducing Metalcore sound from then on. While the chorus is more melodic and down tempo, it still has that bite and edge to keep things at a high clip. "Pain and Penance" takes a bit to get going but once it steadies itself, it's better off for it. The track brings everything together and vreates a more pure Metal sound in its riffs, vocals and instrumentation. "Act of Mercy" continues the audio Metal onslaught. The cleaning singing on the chorus soars with confidence while the melodic instrumentation helps take it into the stratosphere. The verses hit heavy with their more early As I Lay Dying like Metalcore sound. The title track is next and brings a more diverse sound than the previous tracks. The track begins with melody before stepping on the gas and going full speed ahead in its high octane sound. The track lets loose, doesn't hold anything back and is much more varied and overall should be a fan favorite. "Opus For a Dying World" is a seven and a half minute track that is epic in its delivery and approach. The track bares its soul in every note and really captures the true talents of the band perfectly. "Warriors" chugs from the first note to the last. The track overall has shades of early Maylene and the Sons of Disaster as the more Southern Metal vibes come shining through. "Deliver Us" is awesome and showcases more of a melodic side than the previous tracks. The track takes its time and while still heavy, the track shows off more of a balanced mix of melodic Metal styles. "Divinity, Divided" opens with a tremendous guitar riff that stays in the forefront for a bit until the track shifts into the heavier instrumentation in the verses. The fierce vocals and faster and faster instrumentation make this a track that's memorable in its passionate delivery. "The Reckoning" is more like a rollercoaster as it twists and turns with its heaviness, melodic and emotion. The track keeps things interesting throughout and that's a refreshing thing since it's later in the album itself. "Face the Fire" has more of an early Killswitch Engage style to it. The track blends together different forms of Metalcore while still maintaining a good deal of melody. "Awakening" is a seven and a half minute track that is the last original track from theirs on the album. The track acts more like the actual closer as it wraps up everything nicely and puts the tight bow on summarizing the different styles that the band conjure up, while still having the listener salivate for more. The last track is their take on the Into Eternity track "Morose Seclusion". The band puts their twist on it and covers it in their style.

Zion Code successfully brings their carefully crafted album to the masses.

-Interview- (4/2/22)
1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Zion Code" and is there any meaning behind it?

Me and Brandon Ball have been friends since age 15 and 16. We started off self recording demos and passing them around high school back in 2007. We were massively influenced by bands like Into Eternity, Annihilator, Death, Nevermore, Trivium, Machine Head, and Chaos Divine. Our sound initially was metalcore and rock but progressively shifted to a more death/prog power metal sound when we became Swallowed By Apathy in 2009. Our first demo was very reminiscent of bands like Savatage, Nevermore, Control Denied, and Everygrey. We thought of the name Zion Code because in the New Testament of the bible Heaven is referred to as Zion and we wanted to have a more heavily direction minus the direct religious religion based overtones compared to our bleaker use of lyricism in Swallowed by Apathy. Essentially it's always been me and Brandon Ball and it's really the same band with a new name and a broader spectrum of elements. Code was with Zion because we liked the ring of said name but also thought of mysticism and esoteric secrets.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

A message that makes the listener think and challenges perspective as our lyrics are very introspective and insightful towards our personal walks in life.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Our music is heavily layered at times yet retains melody, aggression, and groove within the progressive metal spectrum.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Into Eternity, Witherfall, Heaven Shall Burn AND (for a fun fourth Mastodon even though the prospect is unlikely due to their extensive notoriety but two men can dream).

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

Honestly if anything as a strictly studio based band it has helped us because we've had nothing but time but time to self produce, write and improve our sound. Our first record "The Vibrance" was released last September and we've already dropped "Saviour" within 6 months and that is how we garnered FTD's interest.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Metal?

Brandon Mitchell - I think metal is only growing more and more accepted within the general societal consensus of people however whoever found nu metal needs to return it because we like our music to be thought provoking and we feel like bands are having a tougher time in the market due to the vast majority of kids liking nostalgic trends rather than a new pursuit of sounds. With that in mind Lorna Shore and Oceans of Slumber are killing it.

Brandon Ball - The last few years have been really good for metal as far as the mainstream market goes. With bands like Trivium releasing "In The Court Of The Dragon" because it's a really phenomenal follow up to "What The Deadmen Say" and is super heavy and they have continued to be an inspiration for us as far as carrying on that sound from our era. Into Eternity recently reteamed with vocalist Stu Block which was a dream come true for us and they enjoyed our latest record as well and have been longtime friends. It's exciting to see what the metal scene will bring in years to come.

7. What’s the current music scene like locally there in Ohio?

Well, we own a small imprint called Apathy Entertainment and have studio bands and our solo projects signed with as well respectively. Bands we would personally say keep our style alive are Icona Vera and our labelmates on FTD Voices of the Damned, We don't play shows live in venue for obvious reasons but also really like Lower 13 out of Cleveland and A Serpent's Hand.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Honestly and initially we viewed this as a labor of love because in most cases progressive melodic death metal does not pay it's own bills and is considered not hip in a scene full of spiked haired nu metal kids but we are in it for the long haul. We certainly enjoy money and the finer meats at the market but we overall think it's for the art itself and would rather be heard than overtly worried about the streaming aspects.We do feel that places like Spotify both are good and because exposure is easier than ever before but like any good thing in life your paying to lose a bit of cash for the experience.

9. What’s next for Zion Code?

More albums, no slowing down too long, and hopefully more livestreams and possibly touring eventually with a full band.

10. Any shoutouts?

A shoutout to Brandon Mitchell's girlfriend Heather, former bandmates Zach Smith, Steven Blankenship, Johnny Anderson, and all the beautiful people of Into Eternity including Tim Roth, Jim Austin, and Stu Block. Also a major shoutout to Andrew of Promethean Complex, Wes Devil, Mike of Icona Vera, Philly Dee of Fool The Crow, Hoist the Mast, and Azrael of A Serpent's Hand. Mad love to our sisters, Jen and Ashley and Lou. And to our best friends James Agar, Jesse Gill, and Danny who is co-owner of Licking County Metalheads. Last but not least our adoptive band moms Annie and Susan.