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zer01zer0 - "[degreesofseparation]" (CD)

zer01zer0 - "[degreesofseparation]" CD cover image

"[degreesofseparation]" track listing:

1. Leech
2. 0utside 0f the 1nside
3. Fallen
4. Dead t0 Me
5. Everyth1ng 1 Never Wanted t0 Be
6. Scar
7. Bed Of Na1ls
8. Scared t0 L1fe
9. Damned
10. The H0nest L1e
11. D1g1tal S1ck
12. Er0s1on

Reviewed by on January 14, 2011

"The injection of industrial elements is just what the band needed to make their sound more interesting, and zer01zer0 actually delivers something more interesting than Korn themselves have delivered in years."

Cincinnati, Ohio's zer01zer0 released their debut full-length album, “[degreesofseparation],” in 2007, on which the band showcased their own brand of electro/industrial metal. From the opening track, “Leech,” one can easily pigeon-hole this band as a combination of Korn and Nine Inch Nails. That might sound like a bad idea on the surface, but the band pulls it off quite well. While utilizing Korn's older signature sound and riffing, the injection of industrial and electro elements helps to keep the sound interesting, instead of sounding purely like a dated nu-metal band. Still, if you're not a fan of either Korn or Nine Inch Nails, then this album will have nothing to offer.

“Leech” begins with a classic Korn-sounding riff with layered samples entering the picture shortly afterward. This song also features vocals very much in the style of Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis, courtesy of Jimmy “J” King, and rhythms and catchiness that conjure up thoughts of early Adema. While there is some variation to the vocal delivery throughout this song, some verses sound like Davis himself had a guest appearance on the song.

While the band mixes things up a reasonable amount from song to song, the use of Korn's signature style riffing and a near perfect imitation of Davis's vocal style are prevalent throughout much of “[degreesofseparation].” The Korn influences weigh heavily throughout the next two tracks, “0utside 0f the 1nside” and “Fallen.” “Dead t0 Me” evokes thoughts of Stabbing Westward in parts, but is still heavily Korn-influenced. Being one of the more aggressive songs on the album, it's also one of my personal favorites.

As the album wears on, the band seems to take more chances. More industrial trappings start making their way into the songs, such as the intro to “Bed 0f Na1ls.” “Everyth1ng 1 Never Wanted t0 Be” takes a break from the radio-rock song structure a bit with a slower-paced song and slightly varied vocal delivery. “Scars,” however, is practically a prototypical Korn song, but it's heavy and groovy and possibly the strongest song on the album. “Bed 0f Na1ls” is also a good song, with a nice chunky groove and catchy chorus.

“The H0nest L1e” is straight from the mold of older “Downward Spiral”-era Nine Inch Nails. King channels Trent Reznor's qualities at times and the Davis-style vocals are least noticeable here. “D1g1tal S1ck” follows this song up with three minutes of heavy, up-tempo, electro-industrial aggression. The band takes some chances with the final song, “Er0s1on,” going acoustic with cleaner vocals. Unfortunately, it's a weak ending to an otherwise decent and up-tempo album.

Overall, zer01zer0's “[degreesofseparation]” is a well-executed album. While the sound is dated, and the band could even be criticized as being a Korn clone, the album is mostly up-tempo and energetic, emulating Korn's early success more than their mediocre later efforts. The injection of industrial elements is just what the band needed to make their sound more interesting, and zer01zer0 actually delivers something more interesting than Korn themselves have delivered in years.

Highs: Most of the album is energetic and up-tempo, with some nice grooves.

Lows: The band treads familiar territory and ends the album on a dull note. The nu-metal aspect of the music sounds as dated now as it did in 2007.

Bottom line: Fans of old Korn and electro/industrial music should definitely check this album out - it'll take you back more than a dozen years.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)