In many ways, this new record from Swiss melodic rockers King Zebra could be their make or break record. They’ve moved on from self-produced roots, through the Golden Robot imprint to the home of all that is melodic and rocking, Frontiers Music – in their chosen genre at least, this is a sign that the big time beckons – are they ready to make the jump?

It’s difficult to say, because at the heart of Between The Shadows lies the worrying fact that, well, everything here is a bit safe. The band, again in concert with producer Oscar Nilsson, who did such  good job on last album Survivors, have polished what rough edges remained from their debut EP, leaving some undeniably great songs – Children of the Night, Dina and closing track Restless Revolution are all as good as anything the band has yet committed to wax – but not much in the way of real, visceral excitement.

Still, there’s nothing here as brainlessly gonzoid as Survivors lowpoint Hot Cop Lady; However, when you get the sense that yes, this is a band ready to reach for the stars, they just fall flat with workaday material like With You Forever, or Love Lies, which features some great lead work from Roman Lauer yet still fails to really ignite the space between the speakers and the listener’s ears…

Cyanide, for instance, could be a monster, mixing the Scorpions and Bon Jovi in equal measure, replete with Eric St. Michael‘s smoothly commanding vocal presence and Lauer’s excellent combinations with rhythm guitarist Jerry Napitupulu. And yet it doesn’t quite hit the bullseye as resoundingly as you’d like.

So maybe this isn’t the album to catapult King Zebra into the big league – but once again there’s enough evidence here to suggest they are a band well worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

Between The Shadows releases on April 12th.