ZERO CIPHER is a British band, founded in 1998. The musicians Duncan Williams (guitar/vocals), Will Pain (bass/vocals), Mark Sanger (drums) and DJ-Force X (turntables!/samples!) make a colourful mixture out of many modern elements. As well as aggressive, metallic sounds, the guys do also have melodic Hardcore and also alternative or slight progressive notes. Maybe this band is known for its live performances with the more famous SKINLAB or THE BLUEPRINT.
After two successful EPs (S/T-EP 2001 & 45rpm 2002), they release now in 2003 their debut record "45 Minutes Of Fairy Tales Ending". As the title implies, this disc sounds like a modern fairy tale. The single songs are divided in five chapters. At the beginning of each chapter, a narrator tells a droll story. Unfortunately you can't find this lyrics in the booklet to follow the story. Too bad! Songtitles like "Oompa Loompa" or "Vitriolic HSF" imply a more abstract story. Maybe someone can tell me the story. Musically, however, you get hard stuff. Brutal and totally "sick" vocals are used as well as decent riffs. Always loosen by some little samples and loops. The music of ZERO CIPHER isn't easy to consume, anyhow. You need some spins to befriend with the material. But when the songs have opened, they bring you a nice feeling to your neck muscles. Tracks like "Stupid People Make Me Angry" or the also forementioned "Vitriolic HSF" please your ear with their aggro parts.
The sound is pretty okay, although it is far away from being clean-polished. Despite all modernity, this thing comes pretty mangily and gruff out of the speakers.
Fans of the band can also find the also forementioned EP "45rpm" as bonus to the regular disc, which contains further three songs besides the CDs 18 songs. That's value for money.
The guys of ZERO CIPHER made a pretty good debut, which can't be criticized too much. The style mixture won't appeal to everybody, but it's worthwhile to check it out. Fans of more aggressive, noisy and diversified sounds should be pleased in any case. If we will find the lyrics within their next release and the band manages it to develop their own style, then we surely get a true classic.
Tips: "Stupid People...", "Vitriolic HSF", "Under The Thumb" (Online July 17, 2003)