A-Z is a new band formed by Mark Zonder, former drummer of Fates Warning and Warlord, and Ray Alder, vocalist of Fates Warning. The band also includes Philip Bynoe (Warlord, Steve Vai) on bass, Vivien Lalu (Lalu) on keyboards, and Joop Wolters on guitar. The band’s name A-Z is a combination of the two leading members’ names… A stands for Alder and Z stands for Zonder. The apple/zebra cover artwork conveys the same idea.
The album’s music can be described a blending of metal, jazz, and prog, with various melodic rock elements. The band showing a high level of talent, while avoiding any show-offs. The compositions on the album are inspired by the 80s and 90s, with a 70s touch, and are filled with refined melodies and hooks.
The members’ talents and musical vision are evident in each song, resulting in a really good album. The only thing that I’d like to be clearer is the music path they wanna follow. On the debut they blend various music styles… but I do believe that they will come up with a more personal sound in the next release. It will be interesting to see what the successor to “A-Z” will be like.
Then again, what can one say about Mark’s wonderful and unique drumming and Alder’s incredible vocals? The other members of the band are no less talented, but these two musicians are truly legendary. “A-Z” is a solid release that showcases this exceptional band’s potential and is recommended for fans of Mark and Alder at large.