Right off the bat, (0) has got one of the most disturbing album covers I’ve seen in quite a while...way more so than the pen-and-ink “evil high schooler” demon and gore pictures usually passed off as disturbing. It sets a super ominous mood right away. The tricky band name almost leads one to expect a kind of SUNN 0))) knock-off, but that’s not what we have here.
What do we have here? Originally released in 2017, this was a debut from a mysterious Danish band but obviously reached few ears outside of Denmark. That should change now that Napalm Records is re-releasing it. As to the musical style here, that is a hard thing indeed to put a finger on. Despite the press sheet invoking the “black metal” description, I wouldn’t call this BM in a month of blasphemous Sundays. Truth is, (0) roams a number of shadowy subgenres, making this an unpredictable listen.
“Progressive doom” is a fairly good label, but doesn’t cover all of this at all. The first track “1136” (all four tracks take their name from the amount of time they last) begins with a muscular, dark and groovy throb, with a lot more energy than you’d expect. Lots of super juicy bass work here and the orcish growls of FJ are pretty gruesome, with no sign of clean singing. About half way through this long cut, the sound becomes cleaner and less heavy and tends towards prog. The song never returns to the earlier heavy style and ends on a sad OPETH-ian note.
I prepared for more of the same, but the next two cuts “338” and “441” are shorter, punchier and more aggressive. Yes, there’ a trace of blackness here but still I would not call it black metal. There’s some cool times changes in these and the aggression stays throughout. That leaves the final epic cut “1212” and what do we have here? A post-metal juggernaut or a funeral doom dragger? Nope! In another surprise, the cut is almost pure ambient drone that begins with super sparse minimalism and no vocals. These cuts can be hard for a metalhead to swallow, but I have to say, I actually enjoyed this. It is laid out well and gradually builds up to a more cinematic and dense climax that is very somber.
This is quite a challenging listen and that’s a really good thing. (0) calls this an EP, which is quite generous seeing as it lasts longer than any hardcore LP I’ve heard this year. If the band doesn’t get too carried away with itself, I can see them making some real waves in the future.