Album Review: Nothing – The Great Dismal (Relapse Records)

Philadelphia shoegazers Nothing are back with the new record, titled “The Great Dismal”, which will be released on October 30th 2020 via Relapse Records.

For Nothing founder Dominic Palermo, the band has always been a repository in which to lay underworld tales of Philadelphia. “The Great Dismal” was conceived when Palemoro picked up a copy of the New York Times from a newsstand and saw the famous first photograph of a black hole, taken by scientists in 2019. True enough, he couldn’t escape it. The photograph was framed, placed above his writing desk and onto his notepad a single mantra for the new record was written: “Existence hurts existence.”

With previous album Dance on the Blacktop championed as a soundtrack to an end of the world party, there is some satisfying continuity at play in learning that “The Great Dismal” has its origins in the imagery of universal collapse.

There’s an incredible amount of depth to The Great Dismal and while the name does conjure up depressing shoegaze music, it has a ton more going for it. Although the melodrama of the melodic opener, A Fabricated Life might tell you otherwise.

Following that we get something with a bit more of an urgent beat to it with Say Less. The percussion anchoring things as the guitars and vocals continue the ethereal and disconnected style. Whereas April Ha Ha is deceptively heavy. Deceptive as the morose vocals and meaningful guitar tone are impressively buoyant.

It’s a step back to the melodrama with Catch A Fade, a very pretty melodic listen with a bit more of an upbeat tempo and brilliant emotively powerful Famine Asylum. Both tracks are phenomenal but the latter manages to set the mind aflame in such a way it becomes unforgettable. Nothing at their best.

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Bringing a wry smile to the face is Bernie Sanders (the vocals are so airy and light), In Blueberry Memories skirts the line between emotional shoegaze and hefty heavy metal perfectly, Blue Mecca has the listener drifting through space peacefully until a sudden gravitational jolt sends you spiralling and Just A Story kicks the hard rockiness up a notch for spectacular penultimate offering.

The wandering soundscape of ringing guitars, disconnected effects, thick percussion and eerie vocals culminates in one last gigantic effort with Ask the Rust. A finale that enshrines Nothing as a band everyone needs to be more aware of.

Nothing – The Great Dismal Full 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


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Nothing - The Great Dismal (Relapse Records)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
User Review
6.44/10 (7 votes)
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