Review Summary: A journey of finding oneself.
Jakub Zytecki has been known throughout the metal community for quite a few years as being this very virtuosic guitar player. He mainly resided in the progressive metal (or what many would refer to as the modern progressive metal) vein of things. Even his band DispersE
was deeply woven into the culture of the style. Some may have found Jakub Zytecki from his own music, but I think many have found him initially from his immense amount of feature work within the vein aswell. Collaborating with the likes of Plini, David Maxim Micic and even tried out in a competition for a guest solo spot for the song Erised
on Periphery's sophomore record, Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
(but ended up to no avail as he did not win the competition). This was around the time his debut record Wishful Lotus Proof
was released, and to be quite honest, the album was kind of a mess in my eyes. The album featured not only progressive metal but also death metal tendencies, and then to ambient passages, the album was seriously all over the place and vocally (yes he did sing on a couple of the tracks as well) did not come off as all that impressive either. Although you could tell Jakub had an eternity of ideas in his mind, the pieces did not quite align on his debut record. Not to mention the production was very jagged and rough, with the drum sound, in general, being almost ear piercing at times in its sharpness.
Enter Zytecki's two follow up EP's entitled Feather Bed
& Ladder Head
, as well as his sophomore record entitled Nothing Lasts, Nothing's Lost
. Upon listening to this trio of projects you can immediately tell a dramatic shift in style from what was seen on Wishful Lotus Proof
. The projects feature no death metal nor do they even feature progressive metal tendencies in any conceivable way. The sharp drums are swapped out for a lighter kit, Zytecki features less instrumental prowess than he has ever featured in any of his projects. The EP's although a good representation of this, it's quite clear to me that Jakub's newest LP Nothing Lasts, Nothing's Lost
in my eyes is the culmination of everything that Jakub Zytecki has been through over the recent years of his life, and his journey of finding his own sound, and in turn, finding himself as a person. The sounds featured on this record fit most snuggly within the ambient and progressive rock vein of things opposed to anything remotely related to progressive metal. There are even hints of lo-fi elements featured on the album which I found was one of the most surprising, yet incredibly effective additions to Zytecki's arsenal. This record very much feels like a "cleansing the pallet" of sorts and letting the new shine in all it's glory, for the world to finally see (as the record was long anticipated.)
Comparing to Lotus Proof
, it is vastly different within almost every aspect. Jakub pays close attention to detail within every intricacy of the record, especially when it comes to the vastly dense and engrossing atmosphere. Samples are featured everywhere on the record, even little moments are played in reverse to make the vibe of the record even more affluent in it's in-depth and dense styling. The album is about as rich and vibrant as it's album cover suggests. It just evokes a very fascinating, bright and refreshing essence. I talked about cleaning the pallet and this album cleansed the slate clean more than even his EP's have done. When comparing Nothing Lasts
with Ladder Head
or Feather Bed
, to me, it is undeniable that the stronger set of tracks are most definitely featured on his sophomore release. You can tell that he has dipped his toes in this style for quite a while now (the records writing process took 18 months to be exact) and his ideas on the EP's truly become in full bloom on Nothing Lasts
. When listening to tracks Somewhere Quiet
and Good I Bad Me
they all just end up being a wonderful joy to listen to, and a very easy and laid back listen as well. Tracks that feature vocals such as Light a Fire (Fight a Liar)
and Grow Up
also fair a bit better than his vocal performances featured on Wishful Lotus
. As intricate as the record is, it does not get bogged down by overly progressive passages, intricate guitar phrasing or any of the sort. This album could be most compared to a cool refreshing glass of water that goes down so smoothly you don't even notice you've swallowed it.
When talking about Jakub's guitar playing, it is simply not the main focus of the album. It's the tempo, the atmosphere, the ambiance. Jakub's playing is, in fact, the perfect amount it needed to be, in no point in the record does he try to be overly flashy with no rhyme or reason to it, every note is carefully placed, and in turn, holds a strong feeling of purpose to every note that is played. Although this is not to say there is no impressive guitar playing on the record as in fact, in which case one would be very mistaken. There are no guitar solos on the record, but what makes up for it is the incredible amount of fantastically played licks, an abundance of cascading fingerwork all throughout the record. Although he has dropped his progressive metal roots, Jakub shows that he can still play incredibly well and this is no surprise as far as I am concerned. The most important message I feel when looking at Zytecki's journey up until this point in terms of guitar playing; is that less is more, and that phrase couldn't be any more apparent when looking at his playing on Nothing Lasts
. The bass is actually quite a valuable addition to the record, as well as the rhythm plays a very integral role within the album, the bass is not overly flashy, but it simply does not need to be, it serves it's purpose amazingly. Similar sentiments can be said in terms of the drumming, it also delivers the perfect amount of punch that the tracks needed to surely thrive.
When it comes down to it, Nothing Lasts, Nothing's Lost
is a vastly and deeply introspective record for Jakub Zytecki, and it is an important record in his musical journey. Quite possibly his most important record as his signature sound has finally come to the forefront in the process of writing the record. I almost want to call the record progressive lo-fi as it would honestly not be too far off the mark. I would definitely say the album is as relaxing to listen to as a lo-fi record would be, just hit play and let the music wash over you, and let Jakub's story speak to you in a 39-minute escape from reality. Although there is little lyrical content in the record, I feel the story of the record easily reveals itself to the listener. A record about childhood, growing up, coping with being an adult. Although this clearly means a lot to Jakub, it is also something that everyone can relate to on some sort of level, no matter what culture, nationality, beliefs, etc. everyone grows up and everyone goes through these feelings. In reality, this is not only an album about Jakub, but it is also an album about every person who has had similar experiences as well, and to those who care to listen.