Zero+onE – “III”


Zero+One IIIDark, foreboding album covers can often provide some clues as to what is in store for the listener.   In this case Armath Sargon, has compiled over 70 minutes of atmospheric  goth, doom, and black metal to present the story of wars and associated horrors.  In the liner notes is this statement, “This album is not to glorify war, but to remind of the consequences.”

In one sense, the album provides an opening an opening and closing through a Biblical lens.  Psalm 10 serves as a cry out to God to lift up His hand and come to the rescue of the poor and oppressed while the outro Psalm 24 talks about the Glory of God in procession to Zion (returning).  In general, the album has a dark tone and feel to it, fitting with the subject matter and songs tend to range in length from medium length of five to eight minutes to epically long at fifteen and sixteen minutes.  The droning black metal guitar and fast drums one would expect rule the day here.  Armath hails from Jyväskylä in Finland and the music has that icy feel of Scandinavian black metal along with obvious influences from bands like Antestor.

Lyrics are one of the album’s strong suits and cover everything from specific conflicts like the Arab-Israeli 6-Day war to notorious locations “Kolyma” (site of gulags) to the transformation and deterioration of the soul and spirit in “Cadavers”.  Many black/death/extreme metal albums have this same situation which really is too bad as many will not invest the time to read the lyrics.  Given the overall length of this album and that of many of the individual songs, the listener has to be willing to invest time to take it all in.  Songs like “Cadavers” have a lot of subtle nuance that really add to the overall experience whether it be the atmospheric keyboards or the clean, sorrowful vocals.

If you were to pick just one song to listen to on the album to get a feel for it, “Yashmak of Lies” might be the best one to choose.  It is toward the longer of songs on the album at eight minutes, but exemplifies the overall feel and quality of the album.  The song starts out with sounds of war and quickly explodes in the black metal guitar and blast beats before slowing a bit for a spoken word section backed by guitar and bass.  The calm is short-lived as the blast beats, guitar and growling black metal vocals come back with force.  Almost buried within the mix is some of the atmospheric keyboards, again providing some nuance to keep things interesting.  The song alternates between the spoken word sections and the black metal sections, shifting seamlessly between the two for the first six minutes of the song.  At this point there is an abrupt ending to the music and some almost Darth Vader-like breathing while some eerie keyboards play in the background and distorted spoken vocals proclaim “Murder is your way in the hell…”

This is a challenging album in many ways.  Arrangements are complex and there is considerable variety from song to song.  Interestingly, as many of these songs deal with different geographies and cultures, there are hints of those particular cultures embedded in the music, which really helps differentiate the songs.  The content and subject matter are certainly difficult and the backdrop of black metal adds to the seriousness.  Accordingly, the songs tend to be long and intense with little room for a calming breath.

Rating: 7/10

Written by John Jackson

01. III Intro
02. Zone
03. Cadavers
04. Yashmak Of Lies
05. Kolyma
06. Zion
07. III
08. III Outro

Band Members
Armath Sargon – All instruments, vocals, programming

Record Label: Sanctus Gladius Records, Aug. 2014

“Xenomorph” [2010]
“Der Krieg” [2012] [review]
*III” (2014)

Weblinks: Facebook / Myspace

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
Metal Helm

Soundcloud: ‘Cadavers’



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