posted on 4/2008 By:
This is something of an oddity. NO have churned out a release that’s not quite a full-length, but not exactly an EP either. This self-titled effort is six tracks of brutal, groovy death metal with a prominent old school hardcore influence, most notably in the utilization of gang vocals. While a good chunk of this disc is catchy and well-written, there are also some rubbish parts that bring the whole thing down quite severely. Musically there’s nothing mind-blowing about NO but they get the job done with a good balance between tightness and fluidity. Overall, there’s more good than bad here but unfortunately the album’s unevenness becomes its undoing.
The title track kicks off NO strongly, with some nicely crafted death metal riffing butting up against groovy slow sections tailor-made for slam dancing. Catchiness and heaviness are NO’s strengths, and even the cheesy refrain of “NO! NO! NO!” can’t stop this from being a solid opening. “What” continues in similarly heavy fashion, bolstered by a clean Metallica-ish intro. Things start to go awry on “Unity”, which sees the band shifting rather abruptly into old school thrash, complete with some rather grating high-pitched vocals that simply don’t work very well. And as a final kick in the pants for anyone who started off enjoying this album, NO then try their hand at Opeth-styled metal on “M.I.K.E.” Beginning with doom-styled clean vocals and an acoustic guitar-led verse, the song then launches into a slow, melodic chorus with the death growls coming back in. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a mess and to add further insult to injury, the clearly-discernable lyrics are pretty awful.
Before this band goes any further, they really need to sit down and decide which direction they wish to go in. The best moments on NO are all to be found on the hardcore-infused death metal tracks, so perhaps it would be best to hammer down and run with that style. While there’s nothing at all wrong with a band wanting to diversify and touch on a myriad of genres in the process, there’s a cohesive way to do it and NO don’t manage it on this release. Also, there seems to be a distinct case of too many cooks spoiling the broth in terms of the number of vocalists and/or styles over these six songs. Still, those first three slices of bop-along death metal are good enough to make NO worth at least a listen or two.
Register to post comments.