Zeropunk

Zeropunk

Written by: PP on 02/11/2010 03:46:23

As more trendy genres have been dominating the media spotlight for the better part of the last seven years or so, solid rock bands with serious mainstream potential are harder and harder to come by these days. When they do eventually pop up they stand little chance of becoming the next Foo Fighters because the media attention simply isn't there anymore. It's a great injustice because it means that bands like Zeropunk will go on undiscovered despite having just released a mammoth of an alternative rock album exactly of the sort that I've been missing from the musical landscape. Their self-titled debut album is essentially an industrially tinged alternative rock record, which incorporates electronic elements and heavy guitars to a basic mid to late 90s alternative rock sound. Think of them as a curious mixture of later Nine Inch Nails material with Incubus' "Make Yourself" and "S.C.I.E.N.C.E" albums and you're getting there.

The record opens with a heavy dose of industrial energy presented in a form that recalls Revolting Cocks in many ways, except Zeropunk have found a way to make the industrial pounding sound accessible even to those of us who don't particularly enjoy the genre. But where things really start to get interestng is on second track "The Portal", which is like a strange cross-breed of the superb aquatic alternative rock of Incubus and the grungy 90s rock of Jane's Addiction and Alice In Chains. The universal term covering the sound here is contemporary alternative rock, but really the highlight of the track is vocalist Jesse Clark, whose impressive set of pipes places him very close to Brandon Boyd of Incubus, something which is further fortified on tracks like "Seed" and "Rabbit Hole". The Incubus reference becomes all the more stronger with the inclusion of some electronic DJ-elements on the album ballad "The Journey", but shortly after the band kicks into an industrial rave beat on "Rotten Apple", and later into strictly 90s Stone Temple Pilots-esque grungy sound. What's interesting about the former style is that even though the drumming resembles more drum'n'bass than rock, and the guitars are industrially-tuned, the chorus is so brilliant that it'll blow most people away, like industrial sound or not. And if you're more into Tool-like progression, well, "Gladiator" offers you that through the Zeropunk alterna/industrial rock filter.

The album highlight, however, comes in the form of "Rain". So far we've heard a ton of radio-friendly, but still honest and faithful rock songs that'll make sure Zeropunk will have a load of gigs waiting in the near future, but it's this track that's going to push this band all over the British media and radio stations if there's any justice left in the industry. Not since "A Crow Left Of The Murder" songs have I heard an alternative rock track as soulful and memorable as this one. It's one of those tracks that'll pull the carpet underneath your feet the first time you hear it, but has even more depth to be discovered over the long run. It's very, very Incubus-like, starting with unconventional soundscape experimentation and leading into a thick, loudly resonating alternative rock riff that's simply fantastic, even though it should really be nothing special. The chorus is monster catchy, which is why Zeropunk should push themselves with this track in particular. It'll win over even the most jaded doubters of retrospective 90s rock bands. It's just that good.

So my overall impression of "Zeropunk" is very good. They're a small, yet unknown band from Britain that, in my opinion, has the potential to go really big if they get the right attention. Their songwriting craft is right up there with the big boys in mainstream alternative rock, and they sound genuine enough to avoid the pitfall of soulless mainstream pop rock bands. Do yourself a favor and check out what might be one of the best alternative rock albums this year.

8

Download: Rain, The Portal, Seed
For the fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Incubus, Revolting Cocks, Jane's Addiction
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.10.2010
Futurebound Records

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