Zaibatsu – Zero

Rating: 1.5/5
Killerpool Records
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Released: 2015
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Zaibatsu - ZeroBAND LINE UP:
Gabriele Di Pofi – Vocals, Guitar
Andrea Maceroni – Keyboard, Bass Guitar
Augusto Zanozini – Drums
1. Platic Machine Head
2. Oppenheimer’s Sister
3. Chemtrails
4. Mantra 3P
5. Pirates
6. Gnomes
7. Technocracy
8. Abac
9. Starless
10. Collateral Language

Zaibatsu have released their debut album entitled Zero, the band are from Italy and the Italians are known for their passion. Has Zaibatsu delivered a record which could be mentioned in the same breath as Luciano Pavarotti?

Zaibatsu initialize with underwhelming introduction with Platic Machine Head. What did I just listen too, it was the alien species about to approach earth, landing and getting off at a rock concert trying to listen to the little parts of vocals in the track, however that’s even a struggle as the vocal is overpowered by the rest of the mix.

The aliens go and visit Oppenheimer’s Sister and instantly gets hit with a powerful reactive combination, however the joy for the aliens stops their as the vocal is so dull, surely something could of been done in post production to at least brighten the vocal up even a little as it would of made a huge difference in this track. The profanity doesn’t add to the track and I feel like it’s been added to create a effect and doesn’t need to be there and I get to 2:50 on the track and I’m amazed on what I hear next, why add another 01.02 minutes onto the track when it could of been another 30 seconds and then it would of made sense, but honestly I don’t know what Zaibatsu was thinking here.

The aliens then leave Oppenheimer’s Sister and as they go on with their journey of discovery, one of the aliens spot Chemtrails in the sky and was curious what they sounded like. The answer was miles better than the previous two tracks and now we have a vocal I can actually make out the lyrics too, I’m not going to even mention the repetitiveness of the lyrics in the song as Chemtrails was a breath of fresh air and hopefully this pattern will continue.

They then come across an old man on their journey and he started to tell him about the philosophy of Mantra 3P, the hypnotic state it can cause to humans also the effects long term on their musical palette. What I will say with Mantra 3P, even though I think could of been better, for example having a chant like context and turning that into the Mantra, however what Zaibatsu has achieved here is make Mantra an actual Mantra the way the track is eerie and drawn out, the built up crescendo at the end, it works, but I’m afraid that’s all tho; there was a huge opportunity with this type of track to make it a centre piece to the album, the track their supporters look forward to listening to the most.

The walking continued until they pass a sign which says Cornwall and the Cornish Pirates are the resident rugby union team; the aliens decided to see if rugby and the Pirates are up their street. Well this track starts promisingly with the steady intro and solid vocal having a story behind them, however it feels like I’m repeating myself hear as that is all what is positive about this track. Where is the logic on having 4:15 minutes of musical interlude with nothing else, that honestly seems lazy or they completely ran out of ideas regarding this track.

Their is a little positive feeling with the aliens after looking and admiring some garden Gnomes. Short and sweet, so far this is the best track on the album so far, reasons being is it makes sense and that includes the musical finish to the track, again there is one thing which stops making this track from going to very good, that’s right at the end. If Pirates finished at 3.02 minutes there would be praise, well it doesn’t and again for another 42 seconds, that part of the track doesn’t need to be there and it doesn’t add any value to the overall quality of Pirates.

Aliens coming from outer space know about Technocracy and are interested if the word means the same thing to humans, to their amazement the meanings are pretty similar. What we have here is imagination, creative direction and a purpose to the track which makes it stand out from the crowd. Technocracy is different, but in a very good way it’s flashing forward 40/50 years into the future and having a glimpse what it might be like. Well of course not the death part, but the robotic nature of the vocal and the constant acid leads throughout the track adds substance and a focal audial point of focus while listening to Technocracy.

Abac brings the aliens to an altered state of mind, it’s something which their not used too and to be honest it is another track which has potential, but doesn’t hit the right notes with me. Abac feels half finish, for example the vocal section in Abac could of been repeated in the second half of the track, this approach isn’t ideal and the main thing I get from Abac is the lack of creative direction and the song structural flaws and to be honest I certainly would of considered leaving this track of the album all together.

Last days of the alien expedition on planet earth, one of the main attractions was to see a clear stary night before they headed back in their UFO back to Mars, unfortunately, they didn’t see a stary sky, but saw a Starless sky instead and that more than made up for the disappointment. Starless signifies when Zaibatsu has a solitary structural creative approach as well as continuity throughout the track. Yes, there is the ever present of repeated vocals and that’s a method which is used throughout the album and yes the introduction could be shorter, however definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album, hoping for a strong finish.

It’s the final day for the aliens on earth as they retrace their steps back to their UFO, however they catch news that their major news and are all over the press coverage in every format. All of opinions by the residents of earth are showing their displeasure by using Collateral Language, the aliens took no notice of the resentment and vowed to return as their final day has been enjoyable. I really respect and like this track and the reasons why is although it’s vocal free, it showcases the musicianship of Zaibatsu and their solid technical ability. In the middle of this album I never thought there was going to be back to back tracks which shine, very nice surprise.

At the start of this review I asked if Zaibatsu debut release Zero could be mentioned in the same breath as Luciano Pavarotti and after you finish reading this review you will no that is certainly is not the case, but they are another addition to the Italian music scene, also the alternative post rock scene globally which is always positive. The album needed to be better mastered and I backed this up by saying their was little to no headroom tracks on Zero which resulted in the album clipping and distorted in places, also in some of the tracks their wasn’t any dynamic range at all and one of the reasons that could of happened is the overall dB level that the album was mastered at was too high, meaning the what dynamic range which was their initially was completely squashed out of the tracks.

Let’s finish on a positive note being their are three tracks that I would listen too on Zero and Zaibatsu should be proud of the result of those three tracks in particularly, also their three individuals who make music and love doing so, so if that isn’t a positive to finish I don’t know what is.