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Nothing: The Great Dismal

Philadelphia’s noise rock/post-metal collective Nothing came back with a new offering in 2020 - and it’s loud, gloomy, and, as their Bandcamp profile states „translates the difficulties of real life into musical form”. That sounds like a surprisingly accurate description. It’s both a pro and a con, though - the album manages to capture the overwhelming, suffocating atmosphere really well, but at the same time - as life itself - sometimes feels like it lacks direction or aim.

The songs on The Great Dismal are generally noisy and droning, contrasting with Nicky Palermo’s soft vocals. The gloomy, oppressive sounds drag on a bit too long, however - during a few tracks, I couldn’t resist checking how long it would take the song to finally wrap it up and do something new. The long buildup idea would work much better, if the overall vibe of The Great Dismal wasn’t so overwhelmingly noisy and gloomy - it feels exhausting sometimes. Tracks like “Say Less”, “April Ha Ha”, “Famine Asylum”, or “In Blueberry Memories” are aggressive, colliding with the listener as an enormous, imposing wall of sound. From among these, “Catch a Fade” was the track that caught my attention - it sounds like a post-metal instrumental to which the vocals were added as a last-minute idea, and it fits surprisingly well. Another favorite of mine is the penultimate “Just a Story”, in which the noisy guitar work mixed with ethereal voice of Domenic Palermo sounds sombre, but angelic at the same time, as if your soul was trying to escape your body and ascend. The final standout for me is the opening “A Fabricated Life”, which sounds like it could fit on Opeth’s Damnation.

Overall, The Great Dismal would greatly benefit of cutting a minute off from the songs I didn’t list as highlights. It definitely is an album that captures the depressing atmosphere of 2020. Just as that horrible year, however - I wish it was a bit shorter.

Domenic Palermo - Guitar/Vocals
Kyle Kimball - Drums
Aaron Heard - Bass
Doyle Martin - Guitar/Backup Vocals

Track listing:
1. A Fabricated Life
2. Say Less
3. April Ha Ha
4. Catch a Fade
5. Famine Asylum
6. Bernie Sanders
7. In Blueberry Memories
8. Blue Mecca
9. Just a Story
10. Ask the Rust

Added: February 23rd 2021
Reviewer: Maciej Slowik
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 430
Language: english

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