Song of the Day: Zero Trust, “Birch” (Equal Vision, 2021)

I've been vaguely aware that this project was cookin' for a few months now, so I'm beyond psyched that its existence has finally been officially announced! New York outfit Zero Trust is another one of those rare bands where I have to begin by listing out the "Holy shit!" lineup just to make a point:

The Coheed and Cambria connection seems to be securing the quintet a decent amount of attention already, which has made me realize that it's been too easy for me to inadvertently overlook the importance of that tie-in, simply because I'm tunnel-visioned by the fact that so many of the other members have been involved with varyingly underrated metallic hardcore bands that I've been flipping out over for half of my life (explore some of the links above if you remain unfamiliar with these obscurities who continue to deserve far more attention—and you might as well look into Full Scale Riot, Homicidal, and the legendary Bulldoze for good measure, too).

Zero Trust is more or less the culmination and expansion of the wide-spanning and tough-to-categorize styles that some of these guys have been innovating for over 25 years now, and debut single "Birch" is a perfect example of that tug-of-war balance between aggression and emotion—complemented by an elevated and emphatic maturity that coincides with the sheer volume of experience that this lineup's collective résumé carries. I just hear this stuff and get instantly excited, 'cause it's exactly what I would've wanted to hear from the contributors who I'm most familiar with. The vocals sway a little farther toward both ends of the spectrum—soaring melodies and scathing shouts (another key differentiator would be that the lyrics carry an outward and intentioned message here)—while musically it's even more melodic and textured, though not without plenty of heft. It's "progressive" as far as hardcore would be concerned, but probably not to the degree that Coheed and Cambria fanatics might anticipate.

"Birch" has already hit the streets digitally backed with another tune, "Get It," and you can stream or purchase the tracks now through Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, etc. More importantly, it's available as a limited edition 7" (125 copies on blue vinyl) through Equal Vision Records. Pre-orders just began a week ago, and as I write this, only six remain, so... act now, or lose your chance!

This is another surefire inclusion on my eventual list of year-end favorites for 2021. I believe Zero Trust already has some additional material ready to roll, so I sincerely hope their current momentum continues and we're bestowed with a full-length later this year. Can't get enough!