Zero: S/T 12"

Desolate Records


Brand new LP from these Minneapolis punk mad heads on Desolate Records. Stepping up a notch from last year's twin 7" releases this is a monster of raging hardcore punk, melodic stompers and tough ragers. Plenty of comparisons to traditional Japanese sounds have been made, but this LP shows that ZERO are their own band and not just aping any one style. Artwork by the legendary artist Sugi. Screen printed covers.

Our take: If the Tetsu Arrey and Human Arts LPs that were released this month are both a little too quirky to satisfy your itch for classic burning spirits-styled hardcore, might I suggest this debut EP by Zero? Though they hail from Minneapolis, it seems more like Zero come from an alternate reality in which Death Side and Judgement are the only two artists ever to have composed music. That may sound like a slight, but it's not... to embody a sound and style from the past so completely that you can stand aside the originals and not just sound like a pale imitation is a remarkable achievement, and Zero pretty much nail it here. I don't think that I've heard a better record in the burning spirits style since Selfish's Burning Sensation in 2001, Japanese bands included. There are so many subtleties to this style... the leads need to be intricate and melodic but not overblown, the vocals need to be gruff but not growled or gutteral, the riffs need to be complex and surprising, but not flashy or ornate. So many bands have tried this sound and failed, but Zero knock it out of the park. They even nail the artwork with a classic Sugi illustration and a gorgeous silk-screened jacket. Much like the recent Blood Pressure LP, some may find hardcore this composed and "perfect," for lack of a better term, too airtight to be dangerous or exciting, but even if you aren't on board with what Zero are trying to do you can't not appreciate the phenomenal musicianship and singularity of purpose on display here.
Tags: 10s burning spirits gb325 hardcore punk recommended