By Bill Adams
Sometimes, as hardcore rockers get older, they find that it gets progressively more difficult to summon the fire required to pound out aggressive rock on a nightly basis. They slow down, ease up and, while the flames may not have died, they dim or at least start to burn a different colour. When Damn 13 singer Adam “Doom” Sewell announced the birth of Bastard Child Death Cult last year, in spite of the ominous overtones in the new band’s name, a lot of fans braced themselves for the same kind of decline; it was perceived as an unfortunate event, but one that many viewed as inevitable with the passage of time.
Those fans shouldn’t have been so quick to bow to that perceived inevitability. As it turns out, Doom and this new band that includes members of Damn 13, Cancer Bats, Monster Voodoo Machine, Soulstorm and Hell Yeah Fuck Yeah have done the exact opposite of lighten up; they’ve declared a brand new start with new axes to grind. Year Zero doesn’t even contemplate slowing down or lightening up for one instant during the run-time of the album’s ten tracks.
Year Zero really does live up to its name; it plays like a brand new band insofar as not playing it even a little bit safe at any point during the album – everyone just goes for broke. The triple threat guitar onslaught supplied by Darren Quinn, Mike “13” Charette and Junior stands up as a single jagged and imposing force that only gets run through by Davey “Riot” Smedley’s monolithic bass (check out the back end of “Radio Silence” if you want your brown eyes turned blue) and chased by Joel Bath’s drumming. Particularly on songs like “Buzzkill,” “Blackout” and “Halo,” the band makes the most of its unique hybrid that incorporates metal weight, punk speed and hardcore’s ceaseless aggression and doesn’t come off as sounding too close to any of them exactly, but doesn’t collapse in on itself and spill out as an over-ambitious mess either. Rather, what listeners get is a sound akin to an unrefined (and very, very pissed off) adrenaline rush that strikes out in every available direction and floors it balls-out each time. It’s actually a terrifying assault.
Who could have seen this coming? Given the long-standing “lighten up until you fade to nothing with age” tactics that hardcore has always employed, it’s a safe bet that an answer will be a unanimous chorus of “no one.” Something like Year Zero has never happened in punk, metal or hardcore before; it’s a new beginning, and it’s actually a good, satisfying one.
Album review courtesy of groundcontrolmag.com