What the hell is going on over in Russia? Over the past several years, the country has become a hotbed for slam/brutal death metal, as evidenced by the likes of Abominable Putridity, Traumatomy, Disfigurement of Flesh and Katalepsy. But as good as they are, none of the aforementioned bands could have prepared me for the awesomely bizarre 7 H. Target, who specialize in schizophrenic/futuristic Tetsuo The Iron Man-obsessed slam that pretty much obliterates everything else out there. Their latest album is titled 0.00 Apocalypse and it does a great job sonically of living up to that title, coming off like the soundtrack to an ungodly war of man vs. machine.
0.00 Apocalypse is under thirty minutes long, yet the album manages to move in many directions thanks to 7 H. Target’s ADD-addled, highly technical approach to songwriting. Tracks such as “Gun-Handed Iron Killer” and “Cyborg Kombat” contort, convulse, fold in on themselves and explode, yet it never sounds like the band is trying too hard to sound bat-shit fucking crazy, they simply are bat-shit fucking crazy. Indeed, the beauty here is that in defiance of all logic, 0.00 Apocalypse holds together as a coherent work, its myriad twists and turns somehow working in favor of the songs rather than against them. It’s a testament to 7 H. Target’s ample skills as players and composers that they’re able to construct a focused killing machine out of all these seemingly random pieces of scrap metal.
One thing I’ve learned to expect from Russian slam bands is planet-smashing guitar tone, and 7 H. Target wields a heaviness that’s rivaled only by Katalepsy. I was surprised to see that the album was mixed and mastered by Neil Kernon, who at this point can probably make brutal death metal bands sound like a million bucks in his sleep; he does a hell of a job here of making 0.00 Apocalypse the heaviest-sounding BDM album I’ve heard this year. The sound is thick, exacting and somewhat clinical, fitting 7 H. Target’s mechanized musical warfare to a T. Between the density of the mix and the killer-cyborgs-playing-death-metal-in-a-whirlwind nature of the compositions, it can take a few listens to acclimate oneself to the album, but the rewards that come with doing so are ample.
7 H. Target is yet another killer act that’s pushing the genre into the future along with the likes of Wormed and Across the Swarm. At the same time, these guys sound nothing like either of those bands, putting a spin on things that brings to mind the dystopian aesthetics of films such as the aforementioned Tetsuo, Hardware and Ghost in the Shell, filtered through the lens of brutal death metal. If you’re into tech-death insanity, Russian slam, any of the films mentioned, or just awesome metal in general, don’t sleep on 0.00 Apocalypse.