Review Summary: The beginning of a successful future
Before the days of “This is the Time (Ballast)” and “Jenny” there was The Few Not Fleeting
, the foundational album of the band’s success. It’s quite clear this is the formula the band would base the rest of their future albums upon. Soaring bridges and build-ups, aggressive choruses, melodic vocals, complex yet groovy drumming, and a solid mixture of guitar and bass riffs playing off of each other. The album’s sound combines alternative metal, “mainstream” rock, and some math rock influence sprinkled in here and there.
Although generally seen as a hard rock band, Nothing More displays their ability to alternate between softer, melodic tones and aggressive, distorted tracks, often mixing the two together. Songs like “Bullets and Blue Eyes” and the title track exhibit rock-tinged riffs with harmonically-complemented verses, accompanied by driving drums and impressive vocal work. Other songs like “Waiting On Rain” and “Blue and Gold” rely on the more melodic side of The Few Not Fleeting
, detailed with clean, chord-driven guitars, groovy drum beats, and soaring vocals. However, found within the depths, are a few moments of the album that perfectly combine the two styles (“It Seems”), effortlessly mixing the cleaner guitars with slow tempo drums accompanied with the palm-muted six strings scattered among the verses.
Individually, each member holds strong on their own. Guitars are prominent throughout the album, tackling different styles of performing, from tremolo in the verses of “Salem,” to straight forward riffing in “The Few Not Fleeting” and “Fell In Love With a Ghost,” to even acoustic undertone in “Bullets and Blue Eyes.” Although never impressive by any technical standpoint, the guitars work perfectly in the style of the album, eventually becoming the staple guitar sound of Nothing More in albums to come. Often accompanying the axe, the bass actually has its moments in the spotlight, sometimes taking over riffing responsibilities or just carrying a verse along with ease. “Fat Kid” shows the bass taking the forefront, enhancing the techno-esque verses, while “Gone” emphasizes the importance of bass and guitar brotherhood, playing with each other and only improving each one’s ability. The most impressive musicianship found throughout the album is actually the drumming, mixing in casual alternative metal style drumming with an undeniably infectious groove. “Blue and Gold” showcases it all, pummeling drums in the chorus, with fast-paced, rhythmic beats filled with ghost notes in the verses. Although the instrumentation is phenomenal, Johnny Hawkins’ vocals remain as the most prominent feature of the album (much like recent records).
Although not quite as developed and mature as their self-titled LP, Johnny Hawkins still shows off his talent as a vocalist, displaying his extravagant vocal range, being able to hit both low and high notes with ease. “Fell In Love With a Ghost” is full of falsetto highs, juxtaposed by lower pitched singing found throughout “Fat Kid.” Despite the fact that the vocals are still quite amazing on The Few Not Fleeting
, there is something off about them every now and then, especially when compared to the vocal work on Nothing More
and The Stories We Tell Ourselves
. Nonetheless, Hawkins provides us with a vocal performance often not found in alternative metal.
Overall, it is quite clear that this album was a much needed foundation in the band's discography, as it provided them with the sound that best suited them and that they eventually came to improve upon. With its fair share of flaw, Nothing More create an album short of a classic, but well above the average of albums specifically in the genre. This is the best of the band’s past, and the future of their career.