This is Orlando Draven, creator, founder, master-mind of Zeistencroix.
Born in Venezuela, now residing in Los Angeles, the goth-inspired musician wallows in the industrial spectrum of dark, moody, and often abrasively confrontational electronica.
If you don’t understand the name, then you are reading it correctly, as it was specifically chosen and constructed for the sounds and comes off the tongue like a bizarre German/French connection.
The music can be smoothly dramatic with a nod towards the dance-floor or pummeling and aggressive with an intention to antagonize.
This range has been captured with a snarl and a murky edge on the band’s debut EP, “Gemini”. The production is top-notch courtesy of Tim Palmer ( U2, Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne Gene Loves Jezebel, Pearl Jam, HIM, The Cure).
While Draven is the creative force behind Zeistencroix (vocals, guitars, programming) he does employ other talents to fill out the unit (notably Santi Rivillas on drums) plus a few other Manson-eque looking accomplices for the videos.
But this is mostly the vision of a kid who grew up on bands like KMFDM, Depeche Mode, Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Skinny Puppy and the like. When the combative guitars are dropped in, the comparisons to the industrial end of Prong are accurate.
The five songs found on the “Gemini” EP do show some range within the chosen genre while still wearing the influences clearly on his leather bound buckled sleeve.
The EP opens with a dance-able approach on, ‘I Need You Tonight’. The track is wrapped with a late-night desire and draped across melodic synths and a steady pump of kick drum. It’s the least aggressive track, but it’s also the most likely to get club play. Slightly misleading as the aggression level only increases with each track throughout the release.
The moody ‘Valley of Death‘ drifts along a medium-slow dream-like tempo… swirls of guitar dance with playful synth melodies ontop of drums that fall in and out of some strange and nontraditional time structures… attention grabbing while not distracting and they help the song build to a climax.
“Saturated” shows the teeth of Zeistencroix. It smacks like some bastard hybrid of Ministry, KMFDM, Prong and Marilyn Manson… complete with metallic screeches and pummeling stutters of percussion.
“Dantes” is arguably the most hate-fueled and attacking offering on “Gemini”. Right out of the gate quick tempos and sheer blackness screams through the metallic assault with reckless intensity. Vocally lined with toggles between the distinct gravel-laced growl of Draven and his barking shouts, “Feel my fucking hatred until you DIE”… the song leaves an imprint on the psyche.
The closing track is another vicious stab of a song called “Rage“. Manic guitars crushing against a percussive puncture of drums and programming are all brought to an even creepier level by Draven’s ‘throat singing’ that sounds like Satan playing an Australian didgeridoo. While I understand this might not be the best, ‘first impression’ track to lead off a release, if you prefer your industrial with some fangs… this track will catch ears on fire.
For a five song ride, Zeistencroix does manage to cover a fair amount of ground across the industrial wasteland. The artist has addressed this seeming duality of melody against abrasive approaches within his art.
“Gemini, as its name states, is a dual state, a combination of 2 sides of the same coin; life and death, black and white, good an evil. In this album I’m showcasing two very opposite styles from the same band. It’s a combination of two entities living under the same organism and somehow coexisting without one surpassing the other but complementing the other.”
And for a bonus for the people who read these reviews all the way to the bottom, here is another dark stain of angry industrial from Zeistencroix called, ‘Stranger’.