Among the plethora of bands promos that I get to sift through to decide what looks/sounds good to review, there are always going to be plenty that I am not familiar with. Because of this, there have been many bands I have enjoyed being new to me. I was hoping for similar results when I picked the new EP “Disambiguated Visionary,” from the Kilkenny, Ireland band Slave Zero, that was released November 10th, 2013.
Unbeknownst to me, Slave Zero has been around since 2000 and “Disambiguated Visionary” is the band’s fourth release. When I received the promo, the EP artwork immediately caught my eye. Paul McCarroll of Unhinged Art depicts a very elaborate science fiction scene with some sort of futuristic humanoid being as the center piece. Being that Slave Zero is listed as death metal band, I started thinking they might sound something like another band I reviewed last year, Wormed. Weeeeeeeeell, not quite.
“Disambiguated Visionary” starts out promising with the opening moments of ‘Mathematically Legitimate Solution’. Spacey sounds of fuzz and static are quickly taken over by drummer Ben Wanders’ blast beats and Ed O’Malley’s shredding guitars. Then vocalist Graeme V. Flynn comes in, first with a great low growl, then alternating with an ungodly raspy scream. This scream is bad, REALLY bad. It is so bad that it was distracting from hearing much of anything else in the song. The second track on the EP, ‘Limitless Peripheral Perspective’ befalls the same fate. As soon as Flynn’s strained Accused-like scream kicks in I had trouble keeping interest.
The third and fifth tracks, ‘Embroidered Strategy of Calculated Misrepresent’ and ‘Anthropic Landscape Theory’, to me are the only fully listenable songs. Flynn’s low growl is prominent with the shriek kept in the background. The pace of these two songs is also slowed a touch so they have a little bit more of a groove to them. O’Malley’s guitar solos are exceptional on these songs. Unfortunately, when you do have a chance to take a closer listen, the flat production value of the recording is more apparent. The instruments sound dull like the space fuzz you hear to start the EP seems to have left some sort of residue on everything.
Overall “Disambiguated Visionary” is a difficult listen. Between the horrible screams and lack luster sound quality, it is a hard record to get in to. There are some bright spots, like Ed O’Malley’s guitar work and Ben Wanders’ drumming. I think I have an idea of what Slave Zero was trying to accomplish with this EP. Maybe next time around they’ll hit the mark.