Review Summary: Nothing More have released a belter of an album, which acts as a shining light amongst a sea of mediocrity9 of 9 thought this review was well written
For San Antonio rockers Nothing More, the official release of their debut album has been a long time coming. Snippets of the album have been available in the dark recesses of the internet for quite some time, but once the official release date was set for last week, I couldn’t help but wait in anticipation. The Texan quartet has been gaining some serious momentum recently, from fans and critics alike, quickly becoming one of the most hyped modern rock acts on the circuit. Newly signed to a guaranteed five album deal with Eleven Seven Music, Nothing More currently have the whole world in the palm of their hand. But how does Nothing More actually stack up to all this hype?
The album opens with an intro of sorts titled ‘Ocean Floor’, which acts as the teaser trailer for an upcoming action movie. Not the kind of modern day straight to DVD action movie that features Nicolas Cage and his flailing career, but the high-end big screen blockbuster. Whispers swirl in and out of the mist as interesting effects warp the vocals and climb up into the blistering opening track ‘This Is The Time (Ballast)’. ‘This Is The Time (Ballast)’ was the first glance I had into the musical landscape that Nothing More was trying to create, as it was the extremely powerful lead single from the album. Hard hitting drumming, crunching precise guitar riffage and skull shattering bass slides all provide the perfect backdrop to lead singer Jonny Hawkins soaring vocalscape. The band doesn’t hold anything back early, letting their scorching pace and ample story telling abilities draw the listener in from the get-go. Some effects are sprinkled on top of all this, like the siren that closes out the track and really pushes it home.
Nothing More continue to impress with their uncanny ability to provide the listener with songs that are rich in depth, harbour a strong meaning and also roll along at break neck speed. Some of the examples are ‘Christ Copyright’ and ‘Mr. MTV’ which both pack quite a punch, but it’s the underlying meaning of both songs that are the real kicker. On one hand you have a song that questions religion with thought provoking lines like “to think you know who goes to heaven, is just one big misconception, like god hates fags and communism” and on the other hand, a song that questions the impact corporations have on society. It doesn’t stop here either with the majority of the remaining tracks introducing more of these invested lyrical meanings, without dropping the intensity that the band has quickly become known for.
Some late songs including ‘Jenny’ and the jaw dropping ‘God Went North’ are tracks that you can’t afford to miss. ‘Jenny’ features a huge soaring chorus and a bridge demands your attention, with solid musicianship that is interesting enough to ignite all of your senses. Afterwards Nothing More tread into more slow yet poignant waters, with the final worthy track on the album and meticulously calculated epic ‘God Went North’. This is truly one of those songs that stops you in your tracks and makes you feel genuine emotion. The whole song slowly builds up nicely with ominous wind chimes and distant thunder rolling through the speakers until a hazy guitar riff enters, constructing a tense atmosphere. Hawkins vocals dazzle and once entering the third repetition of the chorus reach a level that is so stirring it still manages to give me goosebumps every time I hear it. An atmospheric array of deep vocal chants brings the album down to a simmer and should have ended it. Instead a bizarre ten minute instrumental tracks closes the album, threatening to undo the magic from all the previous songs.
There is no denying that Nothing More have released a belter of an album, which acts as a shining light amongst a sea of mediocrity, instantly granting them access to the top echelon of modern rock. Nothing More flirts with elements of progressive, alternative and technical rock, which strikes a chord with the listener; something that has long been missing in the genre. With other bands such as Gemini Syndrome and Starset also gaining momentum, the future suddenly seems a little brighter for modern rock.