Zonder-Wehrkamp Aka ZW is a band consisting of drummer, Mark Zonder and multi-instrumentalist and singer, Gary Wehrkamp. In the last two decades Zonder and Wehrkamp have co-written nearly 100 songs together for various projects and toured together for a reunion of Zonder’s seminal cult band Warlord. When the two were approached by a metal label to record a moodier, less traditional prog-metal album, they ran with the idea. The album is entitled If It’s Real, and according to Wehrkamp the album resonates with a tenebrous emotional intensity wrapped in a more melodic, ethereal sound and philosophical take on progressive hard rock. The title track If It`s Real delves into how we cope with simply being alive and, many times, alone in our own minds.
«We have spent a lot of time over the years doing traditional over the top prog and have some really great stuff, but when we were asked to do something different by the label, we dug in and really started to push the envelope on the production side of things», said Zonder.
«This album traces the journey of the human condition through an array of emotions ranging from painstaking pitfalls to glimmers of hope», said Wehrkamp. «This album isn’t about doing something different for the hell of it» continues Wehrkamp. «It’s about challenging ourselves to step outside our own self-imposed boundaries and expectations and dare anyone who pushes play on these songs to do the same. This record is all about introspection and discovery. And we want our fans to take the trip with us».
If It`s Real is produced and mixed by Gary Wehrkamp. All songs written by Gary Wehrkamp and Mark Zonder except Last Place and Goodnight written by Gary Wehrkamp. The album is mastered by Rich Mouser at Mousehouse Studios, Altadena, California. Wehrkamp and Zonder is known for their work in the progressive and underground metal scenes in bands like Shadow Gallery, Amaran`s Plight, Fates Warning and earlier mentioned Warlord.
From songs like the title track that delves into mental anxiety and suicide to cuts like It’s Not the End with a message that brings the listener back from the brink, If It’s Real, delves into how we cope with simply being alive and, many times, alone in our own minds.