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Much worse than nothing - 0%

Kruel, July 31st, 2009

Musically, artistically, and metallically this is indeed nothing, as the title suggests, but from a broader perspective, it is something – to much dismay. This is seriously one of the worst creations of the human race. Fortunately it's not metal, so metal cannot be held responsible for having produced this utter nadir of a… well, thing.

There is only one real idea in this album, and that's the usage of chugging riffs with strange rhythmic values. There is an astounding lack of melody. Everything from Nunslaughter to Brodequin is melodic. This is not. Strictly speaking, yes, there are melodies in the riffs, in that they contain notes of at least two different pitches. However, the emphasis is always entirely on the rhythm (with the exception of the last riff in 'Straws Pulled at Random') and combined with the down-tuned mechanical guitars, the riffs sound like steel fragments bouncing and colliding with each other at random, not music. This is really about as metal as Korn at most.

Rhythmically, there are lots of stop-starts, strange time signatures, and polyrhythmic drumming, but they bring no interesting, let alone good, results. There is no real variation; sure, each phrase sounds quite random, disjointed, and chaotic, but they are straightforwardly repeated in the exact same way multiple times. There aren't even drum fills. It is absolutely predictable and repetitive – the rhythms do nothing save the music from the incredible monotony of the melodic department.

The rest of the music hardly does anything for the most part, leaving everything to the strange rhythmic exercise. Vocals bark monotonously, without any melody or variation in tone, adding nothing to the music but an extra layer of annoyance. Guitar solos aren't technical scale exercises, but even worse: scale exercises would have at least given some real melody, but the here, despite the extremely fluid solo tone, which is a nice contrast to the excessive sterility of everything else on the album but still quite annoying in itself, there are many stop-starts, making the music more mechanical, and often they just sound like background noise, which isn't as bad as the riffs but still don't compensate for them. Now, there are exceptions: 'Closed Eye Visuals' and 'Straws Pulled at Random' actually contain melodic solos, and while they lack any direction and are frequently disturbed by the riffs, by the very fact that they are melodic, they constitute the highlight of the album.

Generally songs go through a cycle of riffs and verses twice, and then proceed to a different section, which usually includes a guitar solo. However, the presence of a certain pattern does not equate to structure. Each riff is interchangeable with another, and each song has little to no difference from another. If you've heard one riff, then you've heard the entire album. There is no sense of progression, climax, or variation; it's simply riff after riff, and leaves almost no breathing space to at least take a rest before being bombarded with the noise. Some exceptions include the clean guitar sections of 'Closed Eye Visuals' and the aforetime mentioned riff with some melody which appears in 'Straws Pulled at Random.' 'Spasm' is also one of the most tolerable songs because there is a lead melody in the background, which is played throughout the song. However, not all exceptions are positive ones; the closer 'Obsidian' is on a whole new level of monotony by itself. After a tolerable ambient intro, it plays a single riff for more than five minutes (on the re-recorded version). It doesn't even have any vocals, and there is one drum hit per phrase. It is obviously boring, annoying, repulsive, etc. but these several objective facts about the song will suffice.

This is barely even music, let alone metal, and it is literally an audial torture that makes free jazz and twelve-tone classical sound like easy listening music. Hell, listening to John Cage's '4:33' is likely to yield a much more musical experience than listening to 'Nothing,' and any garbage from melodeath to pop punk actually becomes enjoyable for a while after listening to this. Titling this album 'Nothing' is an insult to nothingness.