Independent hard rock outfit Zero Theorem is one of those acts whose members do not rest easy on its laurels. The up-and-coming band released its new EP The Killing II last month. The follow-up to the band’s 2020 EP The Killing I, its release last month was not unexpected. It was announced last year that the band hoped to release this new record around this time. The band’s latest studio recording continues the success of its predecessor. This is evidenced in the EP’s musical and lyrical content while also showing some growth from the band. The growth in question comes from the 16-minute EP’s closer, ‘Waiting.’ It will be discussed shortly. While ‘Waiting’ shows some growth from Zero Theorem, the band’s new record also offers plenty of familiarity for listeners in terms of its musical and lyrical content. That is evidenced in ‘Translucent,’ the EP’s opener. It will be discussed a little later. ‘The Future’ gives listeners something familiar and some growth all in one setting. It will be discussed later, too. Each song addressed here plays into the success of The Killing II in its own way. When they are considered alongside the EP’s two remaining songs, the whole of the record proves to be a solid follow-up to The Killing.
Zero Theorem’s new EP The Killing II is a presentation that takes the success of The Killing and ensures even more, the continued rise in the band’s popularity within the hard rock community. That is the case because the band’s new EP offers audiences something familiar both musically and lyrically while also showing some growth from the quintet in terms of the record’s musical content. ‘Waiting,’ which closes out the EP, is the clearest example of that musical growth. Whereas most of the band’s catalog presents musical arrangements that are comparable to works from the likes of Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin, this song’s arrangement takes listeners in a different direction. In this case, the musical arrangement is more comparable to works from Sevendust and The Veer Union than Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. That’s even the case in front man “Caesar’s” vocal delivery style. To be more specific, the arrangement here is especially comparable to Sevendust’s more recent works, what with the addition of the electronics and minor chords. That whole approach is such that it will appeal to a wide range of listeners. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds even more to that appeal.
The lyrical content featured in ‘Waiting’ comes across as a sort of statement about simply living life and making the most of it while we are here. That is inferred most clearly in the song’s chorus, which states, “I am no longer waiting/For you to carry me away/If it’s my time now/Then there is nothing you can say/I am no longer waiting/For you to show me everything/If it’s my life/now/Then tell me who else/Who else will lead the way?”
The statement is furthered later in the song as Caesar sings, “Now is when/I will join with the wind/Moving out and in/To places that I’ve never been. It is another line that declares the determination to make the most of life, not let himself be controlled before asking in the song’s finale, “Who else will lead the way?” That final statement is strong. It puts the period…er….question mark to the song’s overarching statement about determination and drive, not just letting life pass one by. This and the song’s musical arrangement pair to leave no doubt as to its place in the EP. They join to make this song just one example of what makes The Killing II such a successful new offering from Zero Theorum. ‘Translucent,’ the EP’s opener is another example of what makes the record successful.
‘Translucent,’ the opener for The Killing II gives the band’s established fan base something familiar in regards to its musical and lyrical content. Examining first, the song’s musical arrangement, its heavy, crunching, controlled guitars pair with the vocal delivery of “Caesar” to immediately lend itself to comparisons to works from Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. Even with that comparison in mind, the song still boasts its own unique identity separate from their songs. Additionally, while the song is stylistically similar to the work on The Killing I, the overall sound is just as unique. To that end, audiences again get something familiar here from Zero Theorem while also getting a new musical arrangement overall. The musical arrangement, paired with the song’s lyrical content makes for even more engagement and entertainment here.
Zero Theorum debuted ‘Translucent’ last year ahead of the EP’s release. “Caesar” discussed the song’s lyrical theme at the time, saying of that content, “‘Translucent’ represents the act of seeing through one’s outward or public persona to identify the authentic self within. As with other songs throughout The Killing recordings, ‘Translucent’ depicts a scathing character portrait while questioning the validity and usefulness of the artificial trappings of our daily lives.” In other words, the song’s lyrical theme focuses on the topic of self-realization. That is the short and simple of the song’s lyrical theme. The commentary is delivered with “Caesar” stating in the song’s lead verse, “You paint yourself inside a white picket fence/You’re sliding in and out of walls/Waiting until the moment is tense/You step away from your existence/You don’t like to answer a broken call.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “A sound of anger that takes violence to create/Missteps have slammed another door/Consequence is not your concern/You have endless time to burn/To you we’re only another chore.” The commentary concludes with the third verse’s statement, which notes, “Translucent eyes/They cannot hide/The parasite that lives inside/It’s feeding on your/wicked mind/The parasite that lives inside.” That final stinging line leaves no doubt about the commentary’s statement about the song’s theme. Together with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements make this song another strong example of what makes The Killing II a positive return for Zero Theorem. ‘The Future’ is yet another key addition to the EP.
‘The Future’ features a musical arrangement that shows growth from the band as well as something familiar from the group. The influence of Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin is just as prevalent here as much as in certain other songs in this record. The use of the added keyboards and electronics give the song a bit of a symphonic metal style influence. That added element and Caesar’s screams collectively lend themselves to comparisons to music from Amaranthe. When the energy in the song’s musical arrangement joins with the theme in the song’s lyrical content, the song gains even more traction.
The lyrical content featured in ‘The Future’ comes across as a statement of the direction in which the human race is headed. It is not the first time that any band has ever taken on such a topic. Even with that in mind, the manner in which the seeming theme is presented here still ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment. The song opens with the statement, “We keep on spiraling all the way down/No chance to reconcile/Pestilence multiplies/On machines we rely/The vain and senseless shaping what we perceive/Of right.” This lead verse statement leaves little doubt as to what it is saying. It is saying that the human race is headed in a bad direction. The song’s chorus adds to the warning, stating, “Now/This is the future/We’re on the other side/We are the ones under blackened sky/Now/We’re in the future/We’ve burned the past alive/Just trying to prove we’re not/dead inside.” Building on the song’s lyrical warning is its second verse, which states, “We keep on burrowing all the way down/Hastening our demise/The roots replaced with wires/Our truth beset by liars/It’s all to advocate the cyber cult/Of right.” Of course for all of the nihilism that is on display here, the whole of the song does in fact end with some hope. That glimmer of hope comes in the song’s third and final verse, which notes, “Watch us come alive/Right now/This is the future.” This is a brief statement but speaks volumes. It is the masses saying, “We have seen the light and we are changing. We must change.” It is a powerful statement, especially when considered with the warning that makes up so much of the song. It reminds listeners that for all of the bad that is happening, it is not too late to change things. When this whole is considered along with the song’s musical content, that overall content makes clear why this song will appeal so much to audiences, and why the EP is a success. When this collective is considered along with the other songs examined here and the record’s two remaining songs, the whole becomes a presentation that more than earns its place among this year’s best new EPs.
Zero Theorem’s recently released new EP The Killing II is a strong follow-up to the band’s 2020 EP The Killing. It offers audiences plenty of familiar musical and lyrical content while also exhibiting some growth in regards to its musical arrangements. Each of the songs examined here serve to support the noted statements. When they are considered with the EP’s two remaining songs, including the EP’s latest single ‘Joke,’ the whole becomes a record that is unquestionably one of this year’s best new EPs. It is available now.
More information on Zero Theorem’s new EP is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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