#1 – “Nothing More” by Nothing More
By: Tyler Griffith
I wasn’t around when Zeppelin played their first gig. I wasn’t around when Sabbath wrote the opening riff that would forever change heavy metal. I wasn’t even a thought in the minds of my parents when a small band from San Francisco decided to play faster and louder than everyone and, subsequently, invented thrash metal (looking at you, Metallica). My point is, I never really had that “moment” where I discovered a band, still in their early years, and knew instantly that they were something special. That is, not until this year. This year, I saw a band out of Texas called Nothing More. And this band, cliché be damned, changed my life.
Rewind back to March 30th at the Roxy. I went with a buddy to see Adrenaline Mob. On the bill that night were a few opening bands. I missed Killset entirely, I only saw the last two songs from Blackmore (look forward to their release next year), and then Nothing More took the stage. I can’t adequately describe their live show because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. If you want an idea of what I mean, just search YouTube for their live performances, specifically this gem:
But we aren’t here to talk about their live performance. We are here to talk about their album from this year. For this album to get to #1 on my list, it has to be something special. It beat out Scott Stapp. It beat out Alter Bridge. Hell, it beat out every album I bought this year. Why? The self titled sophomore album from Nothing More is nothing short of a musical masterpiece. It is crafted in such a way that makes it feel like a concept album without having a blatant story line. It is a theatrical work of art that is distinctly divided into two acts. This album progresses through the extremes of many different human emotions, yet it does so in a way that is genuine, powerful, and deeply moving. This album is angry. This album is remorseful. This album is hopeful. This album is damn good.
For me, this album revolves around a central that is comprised of three songs (if you want to be technical, they are more towards the latter half of the album, but I digress): “I’ll Be OK”, “Here’s To The Heartache”, and “If I Were”. This album deals heavily with loss. Being a psychology major, it’s very exciting to see loss dealt with in so many different ways. These three songs face loss from different perspectives.
However, while these three songs are phenomenal (“If I Were” is a personal favorite of mine for reasons unbeknownst to most), they are but building blocks to, what I feel is, the climax of the album, which is the track “God Went North”. At this point on the album, at track #16, you would think that the band is running on fumes. You would think that vocalist Jonny Hawkins has given his best performance. But the entire band shines on this track, especially Hawkins. I had the privilege of talking with Jonny at the last show I went to. This band lives for this music. Jonny was cool enough to listen to my story and how much this album impacted me.
If you listen to this album from front to back, you can tell that this album deals with a lot of personal and emotional demons of the band members. I’ll say the same thing here as what I said to Jonny that night: I’m not sure what the band had to go through in order to get this record made. But whatever it was, you guys made it out the other side and created a masterpiece. In today’s music landscape, it is rare to find a band that is so honest, so powerful, and so unrelentingly progressive with their music. If it were 10-15 years earlier, this band would be on top of the world. They have the music to prove it. You owe it to yourself to give these guys a listen. It may be a while before a band as good as these guys comes around again. When they launch into the stratosphere of music history, this album will be seen as a landmark accomplishment for the band. And for me, personally, this album got me through one of the darkest periods of my life. And for that, among so many other reasons, I am honored to say that the self-titled album by Nothing More is my #1 album of 2013.
Standout tracks include: “If I Were”, “Ballast”, “God Went North”