There is a bit of a misnomer linked with the resurgence of nu-metal that has surfaced in recent years. While the initial era of the subgenre established a crop of widely influential, groundbreaking bands, (cue the usual suspects in Korn, Deftones), the stigma that still resonates with the label evokes mixed emotions.
For all of the innovation that resulted from that time, there was an amount of parody that plagued it just the same. For the Ohio-based outfit of ZoneZero however, the label of nu-metal is more in line with the transformative quality of the chapter in heavy music, not the caricature of it.
Since their 2017 formation, the band's brand of dynamic, punchy heft has anchored a sound that manages to conjure that nü-nostalgia, complete with the requisite balance of melodic sensibilities, countered with an all out audio assault soaked with aggression. The band's emphatic debut EP in 'Strychnine Dream,' underscored that duality, with tracks like "Losing My Grip" and "In My Veins" showcasing the kind of versatility that just couldn't be achieved if the effort was a mere rehashing of an existing formula.
Rather than repurposing the sound, ZoneZero manage to tastefully wear their influences on their collective sleeve - paying homage to their nü-metal foundation by flexing the audacity to expand upon it. A formidable amalgam of groove, accented with fits of catharsis, the result on record is a reminder of a time when artists dared to take chances and work outside the confines of genre lines - embracing the best parts of their musical DNA to create something refreshing, something new.
The band's latest offering in the standalone single, "Grey," not only supports their creative campaign of nü-era metal, but serves well in detailing the emotion and work ethic invested in their craft.
Vocalist Jordan Sloan detailed the inception of the track. “I had actually had this song written in late January 2020, about a week before our EP had even come out. The first EP had been done since around October so I was very eager to write some more, and this is the first song that came to be. This song deals with feeling depression as a disease, and it has served as vehicle to display my emotions and be open about mental health.”
Among an emerging class of artists that refuse to adhere to category criteria and the unspoken rules of genre, ZoneZero get the nu-metal stamp for all the right reasons. Tapping into the energy, the ingenuity, and the emotional release that will forever be synonymous with the period, the Columbus crew have the keen ability to take something familiar and make it fresh again.
Listen to more from ZoneZero - HERE // Stream the Knotfest premiere of "Grey" below.