Emerging from Los Angeles, the psych-rock trio Magna Zero draws influences from bands like Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Tool, QOTSA, The Cure, and Jane’s Addiction. When I saw those bands listed, that was enough to make me check out their debut LP, The Great Nothing. The music has a definite classic rock vibe but just enough modern twist to keep you interested. There’s nothing worse than a new band that steals vintage vibes without making them original, but trust me, I don’t think Magna Zero is one of those bands.
The 11 songs on The Great Nothing are rich in sonic versatility with a good dose of space rock. There’s much emotion in the songs, with lyrical themes that traverse the pains and struggles of everyday life to find inner peace. Think of it like a phoenix rising from the ashes and transforming in rebirth.
The band describes the album as a journey to “be free and let go,” to “give up oneself to find the self,” and, lastly, to “become nothing by paradoxically experiencing unity with everything.” This healthy emotional and spiritual advice shows that Magna Zero thinks of their music and songwriting process as a healing journey.
The band consists of three lifelong friends – Chris DiCesare (guitar), Jason Moore (vocals/bass/keys), and David Aubrey (drums). They have a very raw sound with some anthem-like songs reminding me of early Radiohead and Muse, such as the soaring Step Into The Light, which would be an apt arena-style song with the crowd chanting along with the chorus.
Magna Zero formed at the height of the pandemic. They quarantined together in a deserted LA studio and created more than 100 musical compositions, each recorded as free jams on Aubrey’s phone. Over the following year, they sculpted many of these works into songs, and in late 2022, they released four of the tracks as their debut EP, All Must Go.
This new album was recorded live with minimal overdubs used. Aubrey describes the album conceptually as a black hole, with the creative and destructive forces that propel the eternal cycles of life, death, and rebirth. This reminds me of the oft-used aesthetic from Muse, such as their album Black Holes and Revelations. The Great Nothing is intended to be a transformative odyssey that touches on existentialism and transcendence, reflecting on the individual and collective experience of surviving in today’s tumultuous and uncertain world. Heavy stuff!
Since the band formed during those fraught days of the pandemic, I imagine many of these topics were at the forefront of their minds. It also got me thinking about how much great music was made during those lockdown days. I remember thinking that during the quarantines – that though it sucked mightily, it could become a tremendous creative cauldron for so many artists.
The band’s name, Magna Zero, means “Great Nothing” when translated from Latin. It refers to a state of peace beyond the ego, where one experiences bliss and unity with the universe. The band says this is how they feel when they play music together – beautiful! The power of music and how it helps us in a broken world is such a great thing. If you like Radiohead with a heavier twist or you enjoy Muse, you may dig this new record from these LA psych-rockers. Enjoy!
Support Magna Zero by finding them on Bandcamp or their official website or on social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram).
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