Review from Angry Metal Guy

Posted by Hypnotic Dirge Records on Wednesday, July 19, 2023 Under: English
From: Angry Metal Guy
Published: July 10, 2023

Were you to look up the Pacific Northwest’s NONE on Metal Archives because, you know, you wanted to find out something about them, you’d be disappointed. A picture with the faces scratched out, a list of members stated, appropriately enough, as “(none).” The promo materials from NONE’s label, Hypnotic Dirge, tell me that the band is “anonymous” and has “no social media presence.” OK, I get it, these guys aren’t in this for the fame, money, and sex. Fine. For those of you already familiar with NONE this will come as no surprise. The band’s sole focus is sucking all signs of happiness, light and, quite possibly, life out of any space their music is projected into. That includes my brain, as my headphones beam the follow-up to 2019’s Damp Chill of Life into my skull.

With their fourth full-length, Inevitable, NONE stick to this game plan. Saying that Inevitable is “bleak” is like saying that the Pacific is “quite large” or that British rail infrastructure (on which I currently find myself) is “not what it once was.” It simply fails to capture the scale of your subject matter. Like its three predecessors, this record walks the line between DSBM and atmoblack, wobbling back and forth between the two camps but with the focus always on conveying a sense of hopeless and crippling misery in sonic form. NONE approaches its mission in several different ways. However, whether it’s the tortured shrieks and heavily distorted guitars of opener “A Reason to Be” and “Alone, Where I Can See” or the nine minutes of ambient synths and sparse, delicate keys, with occasional distant sobbing of “Locked, Empty Room,” the result is the same.

Inevitable is a stripped-back record, where big empty spaces of emotion and yawning chasms of minimalism do a lot of the work. Of course, this is nothing new for NONE (go listen to “Corroded” from Life has Gone on Long Enough, for example) but it feels like the band turned this particular dial up to 11 and then thought, “you know what, fuck it, let’s go to 12.” Even where NONE does utilize the more classic DSBM and atmoblack tropes of distended chords drowning in reverb and static, paired with those soul-rending screams, the melodic seams that used to permeate these scenes like the veins in a marble slab are now largely gone. Compare the desert of devastation that is Inevitable’s closer, “Rest,” with the likes of the title track or “It’s Painless to Let Go” from Damp Chill of Life to get a sense of this. By largely separating the harsh desperation from the ambient hopelessness, NONE’s creation feels as empty and black as their collective chest undoubtedly is. “A Reason to Be” is the exception to the rule here, as NONE ups the tempo a bit and reaches further into the atmoblack pool than across the rest of the record, as churning guitars and pounding drums propel it along.

Inevitable is, in one sense, everything you’d expect from NONE. There are no surprises here and that’s fine. Certain bands you listen to for the moods they are able to evoke through the scant soundscapes they conjure. However, on this record, the band has out-NONEed itself. By dialing back the use of the harsher edges of their sound, largely dispensing with any of those subtle, yearning melodies and isolating Inevitable’s sprawling ambient soundscapes, NONE has left itself too much to do. To put it another way, where the frozen atmosphere used to be the output derived from the components of the band’s sound, now it sometimes feels like the atmosphere is both an input and an output, with the actual music just a by-product.

The production is everything you’d expect: reverb and feedback-heavy, with distant-sounding vocals and percussion, creating a smothering canopy that envelops you. However, running to nearly an hour in length, there just isn’t enough material on Inevitable to fill the album’s middle sections. Cuts like “My Gift” and “Locked, Empty Room” don’t do enough to justify their runtime, while their shortcomings are thrown into stark relief when set against the opening duo of “Never Came Home” and “Alone, Where I Can See” and the excellent closer, “Rest”. That’s not to say this is poor album. It isn’t and it’s worthy of your time if this is a style that appeals to you. But, compared to the last two records, NONE have got a little lost in their own desert of despair. Perhaps that was always Inevitable.

Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed by: Carcharodon 

In : English 

Tags: "none" "none inevitable" "none 4" "none dsbm" "none band" "none music" "none depressive black metal" "none atmospheric black metal" "none new album" 

 Released: June 30, 2023
Genre: Depressive Black Metal