It has been a few weeks from the last album review. But with the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards winners announced during the week (congratulations to all the winners!), it is time to go back to doing the album reviews. And first up is a December release. ATEEZ made their comeback at the start of last month (and year) with ZERO: FEVER EPILOGUE, which is lead by the title tracks Turbulence and The Real (Heung Version). In addition to these tracks, the mini-album consist of 2 other new original tracks, 2 Korean version of past Japanese releases, an outro and previously heard versions of some of their past title tracks that the group previously performed on Kingdom: Legendary War. For the purpose of the review, I will be including all the songs on the album in the final rating aside from the Kingdom: Legendary War versions of their title tracks, as I have already discussed those versions in the past. Without any further delay, here is my review for ZERO: FEVER EPILOGUE.
1. Turbulence (야간비행) (Title Track) – Click here to read Turbulence’s full review. (9/10)
2. Be With You – Be With You is a beautifully instrumented classical ballad that just manages to take my breath away. The piano and violin strings in this song are just stunning, while the vocals and harmonies expertly brings out that emotional tinge that makes Be With You so captivating. Even the rappers tweaked their delivery to be more vocal style to fit in with the balladry genre. Like most ballads, this one builds into that breath-taking piece before easing out so wonderfully. I love this typical trajectory, especially when it is done right. (10/10)
3. The Letter – The Letter takes on a soft R&B pop direction. The opening verse made it feel like a coffee shop music with a bit more oomph. But as the song progresses along, it diverted down a slightly more dynamic path with the inclusion of synths. The vocals and rapping in The Letter were also quite good and adds more dynamic traits to the song. Altogether, it had a nice kick to it and wasn’t as dry if the song had stayed with its coffee shop vibe. (8/10)
4. Still Here (Korean Ver.) – Still Here is a Japanese track that was previously released on the group’s second studio Japanese album, Into A to Z. Still Here is actually a neat pop track, consisting of a decent dosage of synths. I also liked the other parts of the instrumentation, including the guitar in the verses and that atmospheric in the bridge (which gave us a reprieve from the synths mentioned). The vocals and melodies in this song were memorable, while the rapping in the pre-choruses and at the end of the song added more dynamism to the song. (8/10)
5. Better (Korean Ver.) – Better is also another Japanese track, but is from the group’s first Japanese mini-album, Treasure EP. Map to Answer. Better’s biggest selling point is its repetition in the chorus. It is just do memorable and catchy. The group’s vocals and rapping are on point throughout Better and were the group’s best presentation on this album. Jongho’s high notes at the end was quite amazing. Interestingly, Better feels very ‘at home’ for ATEEZ, but also evoked a nostalgic vibe for me with its balladry approach. (9/10)
6. The Real (Heung Ver.) (멋) (흥 : 興 Ver.) (Title Track) – Click here to read The Real’s (Heung Version) full review. (8.5/10)
7. WAVE (Overture) – Track 7 is a shorter and alternative version of ATEEZ’s title track, WAVE, which was performed previously on Kingdom: Legendary War. You can read my thoughts on WAVE (Overture) in the special Kingdom: Legendary War recap posts that I wrote back around when the show was airing here.
8. WONDERLAND (Symphony No. 9 “From The Wonderland”) – This version of WONDERLAND was previously performed during the second round of Kingdom: Legendary War with an epic performance. For my thoughts on WONDERLAND (Symphony No. 9 “From The Wonderland”), you can read them here.
9. Answer (Ode to Joy) (ft. LA POEM)– Answer (Ode to Joy) was performed as part of the third round of Kingdom: Legendary War. My thoughts on Answer (Ode to Joy) can be found here.
10. Outro: Over the Horizon – The outro consists of a very atmospheric instrumentation and a narration (by an unknown member). The narration can also be found as the words wrapped around the logo on the album art. It brings us to the end of both the album but also the Fever series as well, which the group has been actively promoting since mid-2020. This outro track does make me wonder, what is next for ATEEZ?, which I am sure is its intended effect as well. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10