Descending scales of dissonance scream through the phones as Minneapolis brain crushers Nothingness kick out the cobwebs on their sophomore release, Supraliminal. There’s no easing into this album either, as the roars of Barclay Olson rip horrifically through your ears. It’s an intimidating start, which moves seamlessly from frenetic and frenzied to a doom crushing pace; with a brooding malevolence hanging in the air throughout. Opener “Curse of Creation” swings like a windsock in a tornado, flicking back and fore in explosive passages of demonic, blood curdling death metal rage. It’s uncomfortable, provocative and, overall, bludgeoning stuff.
I’m not familiar with the band’s debut “The Hollow Gaze of Death” but, on this evidence, I’m sure it pulls no punches. The band have no doubt upped the ante here though, culminating in a blistering performance that rants and rages and combines elements from across metal history with their own unique style. Of course, there are some elements that fall as standard across the death metal genre (which is to be expected)…. but there’s also enough modulation here to help Nothingness stand apart from the death metal herd.
“Horrendous Incantation” follows the pattern of the opener, with blisteringly heavy fast passages intertwined with concrete cracking heaviness in its sludgy, slowed down segments. As one would expect, the blast beats are relentless – with the pattern of delivery often following a standard blueprint – but there are moments of extreme variation which provide ample food for thought. For example, “Temple of Broken Swords” combines some rather routine death metal parts with more interesting changes in tempo, pressure and intensity – with their whirling, driving delivery rarely faltering and the band’s ability to drop their balls out assault in favour of slower paced parts providing a unique style that when it hits, works incredibly well! “Festering Abstraction” for example, contains a slower, chugging opening part but erupts into a maelstrom of vicious rage, further emphasising the point.
Throwing in “Beacon of Loss” towards the end of the album is a timely and clever move, with the seven-minute piece providing a brief opportunity to catch breath, despite its sinister driving riffs that slowly build into a crescendo of aural violence. It’s carefully constructed stuff, the likes of which are often dismissed by those who fail to understand such nuance in what is an often, impenetrable genre.
If you want your death metal to lean towards the extreme, then Nothingness is a band to check out. At times Supraliminal is almost too much, but they somehow always pull it back into the zone (though never one that could be deemed ‘comfortable’). One thing is for sure Supraliminal is an album that will feature in one of this site’s end of year lists…. so, grasp the opportunity now and immerse yourself in what will be one of the most incendiary releases of 2023! 8/10
Nothingness‘ Supraliminal is due for release on 20th January, 2023 via Everlasting Spew Records