Raised On Zenith
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Raised On Zenith


Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Raised On Zenith"

The first of these bands is Raised on Zenith, a Chicago-based quartet that defies easy categorization. I will admit that I don't yet own any of ROZ's records (that is, I have not yet spent my money to purchase a tangible product) but I have listened to several songs, which are easily accessible at the band's website (and kudos to ROZ for realizing the significance of the distinction between streaming and downloading and offering most of their music in both formats).
ROZ's earlier tracks Should I be Clueless and Stand by the Door feel like good, but not distinguished, work in the straightforward "singer/songwriter" genre. The melodies are catchy, the vocals are pleasant, the harmonies are smart (if predictable) and the production is grade A. Overall, these songs show a strong grasp of the art of composition and have certain qualities that impress, but ultimately fail to really engage me. That's okay. The best thing about ROZ's earlier work is that they are weak compared to newer material, which demonstrate growth in composition and production and bode well for ROZ's future.
As I mentioned above, ROZ defy characterization. Songs like Insane and Should I be Clueless use layers of vocals to create robust and powerful choruses reminiscent of bands like Superchunk, Cursive, and Guided by Voices. I am continuously impressed by the high-quality production, particularly the guitar mix that seamlessly brings together a jangly, tiny, acoustic sound with the precision of transistor amplification. And as usual, the melodies are great.
If songs like Monoway and Insane bring to mind early 90s influences (Nirvana, Superchunk, and bands from the Simple Machines 7" series like Rodan), songs like Remember demonstrate ROZ's depth and interest in diverse songwriting. Remember is slower (but not a ballad -- think Black Heart Procession) and more melancholy. One simple riff, sad and pensive, repeated under a light melody and soft female (?) backing vocals. Not all bands can transition between styles in such an earnest and legitimate fashion.
This ability to freely move between sub-genres is one of ROZ's strengths, borne out by their newest song. Blackhole is aggressive yet smart. Precise yet noisy. Echoes of Led Zeppelin and Radiohead. Recorded at Gravity Studios (Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt) and set for an official release date of April 9, you can stream it at the website. And you should. Their future looks bright.
If you are intrigued, check out their website. If you live in the Chicago metro area, get on their mailing list. Looks like you can see them toward the end of the month.
- by Eric Hallstom


-2002 Insane (EP)
-2003 Looking at the sky (EP)
-2004 Black Hole (single)
-**Raised on Zenith will be releasing their first full-length album "Not Always So" on WC Records this March.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Best described as a musical phenomenon that is a beautifully strange amalgamation of Eastern European punk rock, American "alternative", and British Manchester-Pop, Raised on Zenith is like nothing you"ve ever heard. Calling themselves “honest and melodic, and harboring a unique element of European musicality in their lead singer, the band is sure to impress.

Born and raised in the Ukraine, Zhenia Koval found Chicago by way of Lincoln, Nebraska in 1994. Fortunately for Chicago, he immersed himself in the local music scene as a solo act, going under his first name, Zhenia. It was during this time he met Derrick Whitlatch, another young guitar player and songwriter also looking to break into Chicago music. As Koval and Whitlatch spent more time writing music, a vision for a new musical combination formed – one which included more than a two man ensemble. They wanted to capture the independent beauty of Zhenia's solo project and broaden its spectrum with the addition of a bass player and drummer who would share the same vision. After searching popular venues for Chicago's finest musicians, the duo found what they were looking for in drummer Steve Dobkowski and bassist Dave Tantillo.

The final combination produced a sound unlike that of any other band in Chicago. The band lists their influences as Russian groups, Kino and Aucion, grunge legend Nirvana, and the infamous David Bowie. Certain aspects of the music have slight remnants of another Chicago legend, The Smashing Pumpkins, there are hints of Weezer chords, and elements of Cursive can be heard throughout the music, making Raised on Zenith's sound an eclectically mixed masterpiece unlike any other in Chicago.

For Raised on Zenith, the future is open and success is imminent. Don't miss the next great thing to come out of Chicago.