None - None - (9/10)
Published on July 7, 2017
Cold, Empty and Hopeless
While the name None does not lend itself to be easily searchable, there is no better moniker for this Portland based black metal project. There is little information out there for this band, beyond their formation being in 2015, and this self titled album being the debut offering. Regardless of what may or may not be known about this project though, one thing is simple, Hypnotic Dirge Records have hit the mark on putting out this album. The combination of haunting but ethereal atmospherics, and anguished howls are fantastic and the guitars are utterly hypnotizing. None is an album that came out of nowhere seemingly, but deserves a lot of attention.
The three tracks on this release make up a little over 30 minutes of depressing and crushing black metal. Everything about the record feels genuine, as the vocal approach comes across as distraught, and bitter, while the guitar and drums create a mesmerizing flow. There is a great interplay with some softer sections as well, as would be the norm for an atmospheric type black metal project, yet the transitions feel very natural, and regardless of which pace the band wants to play in, the music never looses any sense of structure or movement. Starting the album off with the longest of the three tracks proves to be the best options, as it shows the band in all of their glory. From the beautiful but unsettling synth and keys, the droning guitar lines and harrowing vocals, the band is putting its best foot forward. There is a little burst of aggression as well near the end of the track, which is welcome, while not making this quicker pace feel out of the blue or too different from the remainder of the track. That of course is not taking anything away from the other two songs on the album. “Wither” is perhaps the best example of the utterly soul ruining mentality the band has, while the close “Suffer” ends the album in a very chilling note with the keys and whispered voice sending shivers down your spine.
Whomever may be behind None is proving to be a very talent person or persons. There is clearly a very strong sense of crafting atmospheric black metal, while being able to dabble in the realm of DSBM, but not come across as cheesy or too “emo” for the liking of many. There is a perfect balance, and ultimately, the strong song writing will keep people coming back time and time again. The short run time of the release is nice as well, because None is far from a happy album, or even something to have on in the background on the way to a football game. The music demands the listener to pay attention, but in doing so will leave you feeling quite empty and hopeless.
While None does not feel like an album that will go down as an all time classic of the genre, it is still an incredibly strong debut, and one that should still garner plenty of attention and love. There aren’t exactly any flaws per se on the record, just that there are those who will get more out of this style than others, which is fine. None clearly enjoy anonymity, and choose not to reveal much about themselves (or him/herself?) but that is what makes this project even better. There are no hang ups on image or who is behind the song writing. It’s about the music entirely, and letting this one seep into your brain is recommended.