2004 Go Kart Records
01. Journey MP3
02. Vs. Vampire
03. San Miguel
05. The Return
07. Dust Like Sand
It was relatively inevitable that with all the popularity enjoyed by Mastodon and Isis as of late, a few similar acts would soon be emerging for their piece of the pie. The Netherlands' answer to progressive, sludgy metal has arrived, via the rather unlikely Go-Kart Records, and their name is Transmission0 (pronounced transmission zero). Their debut album, entitled "0," sounds like a well-meaning (but ultimately cheap) knock-off of Isis attempting to do Neurosis, with a healthy bunch of Mastodon-esque riffs tossed in for good measure.
Obviously, not everyone can be among the most innovative musical forces in music today, as I consider each of the aforementioned bands, but that doesn't mean that many ultimately lesser bands aren't capable of making good records. Transmission0's debut album is packed with moments of musical beauty, both in its softer moments and its heavier ones. "Vs. Vampire" is a relatively light tune, guided along at a slow walk by it's clean, driving bassline. "San Miguel" calls to mind Refused, both in style and intensity, before launching into a grade school version of a Mastodon riff that segues into the Neurosis part. Although I swear I've heard it somewhere before, the riff at the beginning of "U-boot" is beautiful in the way that pipe organ and harpsichord music is.
The inherent flaw in this record is that while this band's heart is definitely in the right place, their frequent homages to their innovative musical heroes lack the creative spirit that made those metal titans truly great. I, for one, would rather hear a band emulate Neurosis' fearlessness, Mastodon's intelligence and Refused's honesty than any part of their musical legacy. Transmission0 is still a relatively young band and this record shows a lot of musical depth and ability. It just seems to be a matter of getting past their influences to discovering themselves. Also, they should have a talk with their keyboard player about looking into an instrument that sounds a little less cheesy. I'm not sure what he plays, but it sounds more like a Casio than a Korg.
Bottom Line: Once you give a band points for effort, style and sincerity, it's a little sad to have to take so many away for lack of originality. Transmission0's "0" really is a pretty solid record, influenced heavily by some of my all-time favorite metal bands. Unfortunately, these influences are so distinctive and recognizable that their emulation here comes off as slightly worse than when a metalcore band emulates one of the Swedish metal greats, but at the end of the day, I would rather hear a band that strives to be Neurosis than At The Gates. Let's just keep in mind that even those current forefathers of metal had their humble beginnings and keep an eye on Transmission0 for the future.