Song of the Day

Zero Again, “Covid Dreams,” from Out of the Crooked... (Sanctus Propaganda, 2021)

Photo: Danny Guy

Bristol-based Zero Again draw their harrowing handle from a classic Rudimentary Peni track of the same name. Over the course of that witty, macabre masterpiece, Nick Blinko poetically posits “zero again the end of no end.”

The anarcho punks in Zero Again fittingly draw from a similar well in both sonics and economically terse presentation. The band’s first of pair of 2021 EPs, Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, was a ripper that slipped by me a few months back. Released via Poland’s Sanctus Propaganda Records, which is a killer landing spot for new and re-released DIY punk. 

The band hails from the same region that launched legends like Zygote and their better known antecedent. The “lost year” that was 2020 gifted us, among few things, this killer lineup that sports members of the essential Warwound, Stampin’ Ground, Grand Collapse, Bring to Ruin, and Flux of Pink Indians.

Of particular note is the inclusion of one Ian Glasper who seems set on singlehandedly documenting British punk history in its entirety. I've been lucky enough to track down a couple of his definitive tomes, including the 1980-1984 explorations Burning Britain and The Day the Country Died, respectively, which are amazing reads for the custodial mind. 

Hopefully, the pandemic will one day exist solely in mildly traumatic references and shitty tv shows, but the EP’s centerpiece “Covid Dreams” is very much a product of the moment.

Lyrically, it finds itself exploring resignation, isolation, and a lack of National foresight that ignored harbingers aplenty. Bolstered with spare and well chosen poetics, the metallic fury of the opening guitar line feels fittingly apocalyptic and almost reminiscent of a Sacrilege guitar run. After the car crash vocals stampede in, they proceed to make well worn crusty territory burst alive in nihilistic vibrance. 

The low slung bass sounds as if the strings are a death rattle. The sense of potential collapse is only intensified with what I can only call next level drumming. Adept at not just a blistering d-beat backbone, it fills the choppier heart of the song with a thumping gusto.

The vocals, in lieu of the bog-standard throat shred, are perfectly placed and feral. Splitting the difference  between the pugilistic intent of HHIG or Tragedy, Icons of Filth, post-punk’s more venomous end, and death rock, this is clearly the work of an adequately seasoned group of musicians with wildly varied record collections. 

The entire EP shreds, as does the follow up EP that followed hot on its tail. Get on this band immediately. 

Tagged: zero again