Review Summary: Inventive, and rejuvenating; brutally beautiful metal.
"An Audio Guide To Everyday Atrocity" caught just about anyone who had to or chose to take the time to listen to it off-guard. By the sound of "Pacifier" it was automatically assumed these guys were another Korn-clone with dark tones and aggro-vocals ; screaming and singing at a fast-pace through gritted teeth.
This doesn't mean AAGTEA is a phenomenon, but it shows promise and holds some of their best work. "Goldtooth" begins on distorted and muffled chanting over slight static, and a slow strum of a single broken guitar chord. Then things turn up with a mammoth of a riff for most of the song, and eventually settles into an outro riff for the last minute and a half that only keeps the same energy going til the music stops.
This is the template for almost every one of these nine songs, and it is pure genius. It works on so many mixtures of different aggressive riffs of the finest quality, in the same keys, and without barely any breaks to breathe. Singer Matt Holt is now enunciating his lyrics and singing more slowly, and it works perfect. He can sing soothingly and scream steadily for entire songs.
This eerie album is more likely to invite you into the dark-side of metal than anything else in the mainstream of the genre. These guys are pissed off and bizarre with every song except "Grinning" starting with some sort of strange ambient noise that flawlessly introduces the impending sinister riff that will undoubtedly follow. "Grinning," the second track, implies that Nothingface is now well-capable of playing well with less aggro melodies, but retaining the slight death-metal edge. "So Few" is the first track to feature mostly singing from Holt, but he is clear and crisp and welcomed with unexpected delight, as his performance on "Pacifier" did not feature such pristine ability.
The most powerful duo of tracks on this record, and possibly in all of Nothingface's career is "Villains," followed by "Sleeper." "Villains" is arguably the bands best heavy track, while "Sleeper" is potentially their best softer track. There's absolutely no reason these songs shouldn't be recommended for those titles. "Villains" opens with escalated shrieking static that quickly walks into a pummeling seductive riff that cools off for a two short semi-choruses. The back half of the song is an intertwining of two dark, equally pummeling riffs. "Sleeper" starts with a richter-scale shattering bass motif, and lets into a majestic acoustic melody, and plays this front until the 2/3 mark then bludgeons a monster of a melody til it suddenly ends.
Things only get more shady and more bizarre as the album goes on, through "Breathe Out," "Error in Excellence," and ultimately peaking at "I, Diablo." "The Sick," closes things with a slight skylight opening in that its uprising intro and empowering main riff encourages you to fight whatever fight Nothingface is fighting.
"An Audio Guide To Everyday Atrocity" is the step toward greatness Nothingface chose to make in their career. It showcases their intelligence of arrangements and flexing ability to work out seriously pissed off heavy alt-metal. While many future songs would overshadow the outdated quality of this album, "Villains," and "Sleeper," are reason enough to listen to it, everything else is an added bonus.