I admire albums that throw me back to my underground music days, where kids met in venues that were more like dark basements, where a par can light or two were the extent of the production design shared by every band, each one the next new hardcore band in the scene. That’s the taste Nothing Left’s new album leaves in your mouth. It’s a gem: a storyteller, a voice that speaks to and from an entire generation. The band, formed in 2016 following the disbanding of Christian metalcore heavyweight For Today, boasts a brutal follow-up to their 2017 debut EP, Destroy and Rebuild, with their first full-length release, Disconnected. The quartet continues the journey back to the not-so-distant yesteryear on the work, pulling from the sweet spot between punk rock and metallic hardcore.
This is, without a doubt, music to feel.
To no one’s surprise, these metal-vets-turned-supergroup has extracted with precision only the best sonic elements and reframed the vintage beatdown with the new sound. Every song on the record puts the listener in the familiar and beloved pit experience from the first throwdown to the two-step to the circle pit. (It’s most evident on the band’s first single, “Dust Into Dust.”) It seems like a given from a band born from the ashes of For Today, Silent Planet, Take It Back!, and ABFPB members; all have proven knowledge of the genre.
What is perhaps the most commendable feature of Disconnected is the balance it offers, the transitions between breakdown and groove, the playful dichotomy between a live show experience and leveled-up production. The rhythm section conducts the feel of each track, and, at the same time, the guitars shine in the chuggy, headbanging verses (see: “Death From Above,” “Into the Emptiness,” and the simple-but-effective walk up and down at the end of “Beneath the Surface”). Disconnected finds a steadiness between each member’s strengths in the collective service of the songs, something the hardcore scene knows how to do seamlessly. No single instrument rises above the rest, but they find their place in the chaos and drive the album in concert.
None of the riffs are too intricate or too flashy; they’re thick, full and serve a very specific purpose, something that’s much appreciated in a landscape of overworked riff writing. While Nothing Left is new to the scene, their music and members are all too familiar – and it’s that good kind of familiar. This is, without a doubt, music to feel.