Perhaps following the cue of Duster, as of late a few acts from the 1990s and 2000s have chosen to return to recording as the end of the decade draws nearer. The latest instance of this is Misery Loves Co., an industrial rock duo from Sweden who generated a swell of momentum with their 1995 debut album but had largely lost it by their third 5 years later. After that record, Your Vision Was Never Mine To Share, Misery Loves Co. vanished into the abyss for nearly 2 decades; emerging now with a brand new set of songs to see if the magic is still there.

Zero starts off with much of the same streamlined aggression as the recent Alter Bridge record with “Suburban Breakdown”, albeit with a familiar 1990s flavour and punk sneer to date and distinguish Misery from their latter-day industrialists. “A Little Something” plays out like downtuned, refreshed Filter, while “Dead Streets” bears some stylistic resemblance to Fear Inoculum as it carves out its own bleak, steely path.

Only Happy When It Rains” melds the old Garbage classic with dashes of modern neo-garage, shifting winds towards an ever-familiar alternative flavour in its full and lively chorus. “Fell in Love”, much in keeping with Misery’s recurring lyrical themes is a dreary crawl of a tune, a far shot from whatever trite poppiness its title might indicate. “The Waiting Room” revisits much of the mechanical punch of the album’s beginning, with “Would You?” taking it even a step further with the introduction of various electronic elements.

Zero” rages forward in trademark industrial fashion, while “One of Those Days” scales back into a cleaner format while retaining most of the nihilism customary of the genre. The massive colour burst the track builds towards provides much of the escape the song speaks of; immersing and encompassing all who listen into a deep, limitless audio trip. “Way Back Home” closes out the state of affairs on a strong note, providing one of the catchier numbers on the record by Misery standards before descending into a drawn-out instrumental outro that retains its grip and intrigue to the end.

Zero is ultimately a fine practice in retaining musical purity as far as genres are concerned, and refining it to be even better tailored to the current year. Zero makes Misery Loves Co. and anyone of their ilk sound timeless, as if they had never taken nearly 20 years off and just come back after that long to record a new album. It could be said that taking a break helps an artist come back better, but as evidenced by numerous examples new and old, this is not always the case. It takes a special spark of skill, talent and creativity to come back new and improved, and Misery Loves Co. certainly proved that they have it.

RATING: 5/5