00y 18 - Stahlstadt (EP) (2013)


Formed in 2011 as a three piece, 00y 18 are down to one man; Michael Zimmel may be the sole member remaining under the name, but with his multi-instrumental talent, it would seem he is never alone. Playing everything on this release from guitar to bass, and a blaring drum kit, Zimmel has crafted a three song EP that will be used as a foundation for things to come. It is in his influences, however, that this Austrian proves to be wholly unique. Looking to recreate the sound produced by steel mills, the overly metallic ringing that inhabits all three tracks on "Stahlstadt" may seem grating at first, but begins to make sense the more you delve into his thought process. Recorded entirely without the aid of a professional studio or engineer, this is a raw look into the mind of one man, as he begins a journey all his own.

The dynamic of "Das Stahlwerk" is an interesting one, with the mid range and treble far outweighing the low. Floating somewhere in the middle of drone and instrumental doom, there is certainly an ethereal quality to the way each of the pieces comes together. It is simple and straightforward, but sets a mood for the track that follows. And with "Linz," Zimmel takes the restraints off and thunders through a nearly five minute ride that seems to walk the line between controlled and chaos. The early moments fall into the former, albeit with a mix that is slightly out of balance. The sizzle of the cymbals creates a murkiness that, while not entirely bad, buries so much of the detail to the guitars. The jagged edges created here do, however, reinforce the "steel mill" atmosphere he seeks. With the album done completely in house, he inconsistencies in the mix can be easily forgiven, as they far exceed what many could do without the aid of a full studio. The closing track, "Zerstörung," has the most complete sound, with a nice piece of drum work hammering home the main riff. This thumping beat creates a great stomping effect that is only strengthened but a plucked bass line. Around the midway point is where Zimmel shines brightest, with fast paced guitar strumming layered on top of that massive beat to form an almost post-black sound.

Everything has to start somewhere. For Michael Zimmel, this EP may be the perfect starting line for the future of the 00y 18 project. And that leads to two different views of this offering. Taken as the start of something bigger, as he says on the bands Bandcamp page, "Stahlstadt" is a worthy foundation. All of the signs are there, and with an intense focus on songwriting and recording, you could make a case for greatness down the line. Taken on it's own merit, there are certainly faults to be found, both big and small. While home recording does make it difficult to get that crystal clear mix and balance, you find periods here where the drums are far too overbearing, and leave the rest of the instrumental buried in a sea of sizzle and pops. Which view becomes the accepted one is solely dependent on Zimmel and his path of choice. The next release may truly define this moniker.

6/10

Bandcamp - http://michaelzimmel.bandcamp.com/album/stahlstadt
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/00y-18/107081346067467