Band – Zero Signal
Album / Label – Divided By Zero / Unsigned
Rating – 3.5 / 5
A few months back I wrote about the unique Death Trance duo Zero Signal, formed by longtime collaborators David “R:ΞJΞCt” Bowman and John “J SYИTΔX” Edwards. The band promised an album before the end of the year, and on October 6, the album dropped on their Bandcamp site.
The stage is set by the first track, Pull the Trigger, which opens with a 911 call and a thumping back beat before the trance synths permeate your eardrums. The immediate influences I felt were from Suicide Commando with the lyrical flair of FGFC820. The song’s pulsing tempo will definitely keep your head bobbing and your eardrums throbbing as J Syntax screams “You pull the trigger on me!”
The heavy synths blister into Wake Me Up, which immediately features gruff screams mixed into what I can only describe as electronic mayhem. The song never decreases in tempo, despite the softer clean vocals asking, “could this be a dream or could this be a fantasy?” You could say that the band has to occasionally dial it back so as to better assault your auditory senses later.
But, don’t think for one second that his band isn’t here to punish you. Inside blends a complicated batch of Trance, Darkwave and Techno, and features clean singing similar to what you might find on a Zeromancer record. The chorus line of “It’s all inside my head – watch it drift away,” pushes it deep and adds an angsty feel to the track. More than any other song on the record, I felt like this one could be featured on a TV show or even in a movie.
Angel features some of the best guitar work on the album, as the clean vocals again take front stage, more akin to Sturmreaktor this time around. The synths are simpler here but again the chorus ramps things up as Syntax and Reject are joined by a mysterious female voice which seems to rise from the mist within the song.
The lead single off the EP is titled Falling Apart, and it’s possibly the hardest banger of all. You might just want to empty that bottle of Tylenol before listening to this one. The opening synths bite at you and the guitars blend in with perfect heavy harmony. It’s definitely more of a dance number but as it progresses it gets heavier and heavier until you’re finally crushed at the very end.
The relentless Come to Us is the penultimate track on the EP, and it will have you moving until your bootstraps break free. The electronic noise comes at you from several angles, bobbing and weaving in and out like a techno boxer. The line “come to us, free your mind,” is repeated several times, and I feel as though the electronic pulse does its own part to actually free your mind from anything you were holding on to before.
Finally, and graciously, we have the dark and heavy anthem When I Die. I feel like the term “death trance” is best embodied on this song, as the beat pulses and the guitars tear into you, allowing Syntax’s voice to come inside and devour your dark soul. What a way to finish a record…
…Wait, what? A bonus track? A secret bonus track?! Well, consider me tickled! You’ll immediately recognize the opening guitar riff on this one. At first I was laughing, but this is a fantastic rendition of a song that only Zero Signal could do. I promise, you’ll want to hear this for yourself. The blazing guitar solo that immediately dips into heavy de-tuning is a beautiful juxtaposition.
- Pull the Trigger
- Wake Me Up
- Falling Apart
- Come to Us
- When I Die
- (secret bonus track)
Zero Signal – When I Die