Age Zero – Age Zero III

Time to get serious again

Age Zero - Age Zero III

Album facts

Release Date: February 29th 2020
Label: Self-release
Genre: , ,
Discogs: Link
Partially sounds like: Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, IAMX

What do you expect from an album that starts with the words: "Everything starts with pain"? The new album by 'Age Zero' (Jan Weisbrod) called 'Age Zero III' has been a long time await­ing. Already 5 years have passed since the last release and the music of 'Age Zero' has not become more cheerful.

Rather the oppos­ite is the case. Melancholy, sad­ness and dark thoughts are the com­pan­ions of the new album. Especially the jour­ney to Japan has strong influ­ences on the album, both in terms of con­tent and sound.

Expect darkness

The open­er "Out Of Pain" is lyr­ic­ally and music­ally a whole life cycle. The birth of the first song begins quietly and restrained with a basic beat like a heart­beat. Nothing dis­tracts from the fant­ast­ic vocals and you lit­er­ally stick to the lips of sing­er Jan Weisbrod. Towards the middle the sound becomes more com­plex and excit­ing. In gen­er­al, the ten­sion is built up very well here. You exper­i­ence a con­stant increase until the song reaches its zenith with rough elec­tric gui­tars and the words "Embrace what you love" are shouted into the microphone.

Embrace what you love
Lyrics from 'Out Of Pain' by Age Zero

The song 'Perfect Desperate Mess' is about depres­sion and sui­cide. No later than the second song you real­ize that this is not a party album. The begin­ning is min­im­al and soft strings sup­port the depressed mood until the drums kick in after just a little over a minute. The tempo remains very slow, but the sound is intense. A won­der­ful song that makes you reflect and leaves room for interpretation.

A musical journey with an educational value

The third track is entitled 'Aokigahara Has To Wait'. Yes, I also had to google first and this was not my last Google search for the tracks on this album. In brief, the place 'Aokigahara' is a dense forest near Fuji, known as "The sui­cide forest", because it's a well-known sui­cide site. Well, is the pat­tern already recog­nized? Soundwise, the ten­sion and intens­ity is built up con­tinu­ously, until it drops abruptly and fades quietly in the last fifth. Not a typ­ic­al song struc­ture, but that's what Age Zero is known for. A fant­ast­ic, bleak song that gave me goose bumps.

To die in beau­ti­ful places is impossible
Lyrics from 'Aokigahara Has To Wait' by Age Zero

The next song 'Can Shibuya Girls Cry' is about the pop­u­lar trend of the "Shibuya Girls" in Tokyo. A super­fi­cial show and fash­ion world that serves as a tour­ist attrac­tion. Partly also on immor­al ways. The track is con­tinu­ously clocked in slow tempo (around 80 BPM). Jan's vocals bring a lot of vari­ation to the song, as well as the rise of noise in the bridge and outro. The noise in the outro reminds me strongly of the outro of 'I'm Not Afraid' from the album 'Age Zero II'. Luckily, the bow was not over­stretched here and the track ends abruptly.

In the shadow of the valley of death

'Pieces Of Noise' has really this dis­com­fort­ing feel­ing. The mono­tone beat and chor­us 'Drown the world in your noise' have an almost man­tra-like char­ac­ter. Perhaps it's just me, the track can best be com­pared with a typ­ic­al Martin Gore (Depeche Mode) bal­lad, only a shade dark­er and more ser­i­ous. Towards the end, on the oth­er hand, I am reminded of the early creepy tracks by Marilyn Manson. With dis­tor­ted elec­tric gui­tars and hor­ror-like sounds and effects, but on a mod­er­ate level. A fant­ast­ic combination.

After the ton­ally very gloomy tracks before, the first tone of the song 'Shinkansen' sounds like a single ray of sun­light break­ing through the dense cloud cov­er. But appear­ances are deceiv­ing. Lyrically we remain with bleak and mel­an­chol­ic top­ics. The sound of the melody could also come from the 'Blade Runner' movie. It gives the song a sci-fi touch in a subtle way, less dysto­pi­an but more melancholic.

Hey, what have we done? Hey, we've killed our hearts.
Lyrics from 'Shinkansen' by Age Zero

The last song 'Dark Traveler' offers a bit­ter­sweet song with a ton­al, hope­ful sound in chor­us. Lyrically, how­ever, I rather inter­pret the inner con­flict of a depres­sion. Very subtle in the lyr­ics even sui­cide thoughts are hid­den. In con­trast to that stands the cry for help 'Don't let me go'. A song that makes me thought­ful and sad, but a pro­verb says 'tears cleanse the soul'. It's a song that closes the album perfectly.

Music for profound listeners

'Age Zero III' is def­in­itely not an album for the dance floor in a club. Further, at a party I would def­in­itely not play a single song of it. But it's a damn import­ant album if you listen to music alone and have to walk through a men­tally dark val­ley. I think there is no grey area for the album. Either you find it hor­rible or you love it ador­ably. It's up to each per­son to decide for them­selves. If you love the album 'Metanoia' by 'IAMX', then it's a must-have album. For me per­son­ally it is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time.

By the way, this album also made it into our art­icle 'The best Synth Pop and genre-related albums 2020'. Read now.

Track By Track Rating

Age Zero - Age Zero III
Age Zero – Age Zero III
Out Of Pain
Perfect Desperate Mess
Aokigahara Has To Wait
Can Shibuya Girls Cry
Pieces Of Noise
Dark Traveler
Out Of Pain
Aokigahara Has To Wait
Dark Traveler
(Nothing to report here)

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Out Of Pain
Perfect Desperate Mess
Aokigahara Has To Wait
Can Shibuya Girls Cry
Pieces Of Noise
Dark Traveler
Final Score