EMPEROR ZERO - night of the hunter - BRAND NEW CASSETTE TAPE
Manchester-based for a string of smart singles that drew comparison with Gang of Four and Mark E. Smith (whose literary work the post-punk/noise band clearly regard as unfinished), Emperor Zero lead singer Matthew Boswell now calls Cardiff home, and during the pandemic lockdowns, he revisited the unreleased parts of their back catalogue. These five tracks are the result, a timely taster ahead of a debut album due later in the year.
Originally recorded in the Bunker – a notorious studio and venue in Salford that was the HQ of the SWAYS label and which has since mutated into the White Hotel nightclub – Nights Of The Hunter captures the atmosphere of long Bunker nights, coruscating reverb, crunching guitars and industrial rhythms stripping the rust from the shutters.
The patina remains however, lo-fi anti-production a weapon in Emperor Zero’s hands, Boswell a pained shaman striving for utopia against a backdrop of scorched-earth static. Angry-wasp distortion and sprechgesang stalk the land invoking the horrors of the Pol Pot regime, blown-out guitars going full basement jam-band alongside perverse lifts from Hitler’s speeches. Blossoming in adversity, beautiful melodies square off against the solemnity of the Old Testament, guitars soaring poetically from the squalor. With dawn still a long way off, it’s time to give yourself to the night.