Nothingness: No Happy Ending

Picked this one up, said, "yeah, deathcore/metalcore or some crap, we'll wait on it".  Damn these stereotypes and biases, they plague our minds!  Someone out there save us, free our mind from these genre tags that bind us!  Well, hey, can't blame us entirely, the artwork pretty much said what it needed to, and it was called easily, but, sigh, finally, for the love of all that is holy one of these insert-genre core bands has delivered us from evil and given us hope for the rest of the core.  That's means this is a good thing, if our esoteric wording confounds you.  Deal with it.  And deal with this, Nothingness have done a great thing with No Happy Ending, they actually put together, believe it or not, a metalcore album that's actually a good listen.  That probably means it's actually not metalcore...  Why do we start this review with such a lead-in?  Because it's simple, most metalcore/deathcore bands out there don't get it at all.  They chug, they double kick stomp, they scream at their mothers from their bedrooms because they don't have any clean skinny jeans, and their ear gauge fell out somewhere at Chuck E Cheese while they were playing air hockey, poorly might we add.  Nothingness have destroyed this stereotype for us, finally.  Great listen here, but not perfect.

 

No Happy Ending hmmm, the cover doesn't say much, it says some sort of core, and some sort of commentary on society via the core.  Fine, whatever.  But how does it sound?  That, friends, is the strong point of this album, the sound, forget the crossbow Bambi's mother art.  Production quality, top notch, very nice for a self-released album, even for a label-backed album.  Guitars, drums, bass, vocals, all clear, easy to discern.  That's a must, but you'd be surprised how many core bands fail at even that level.  Nothingness then go on to impress with the actual grit of their sound.  Opening with "Some Kind of Circumstances" these boys from France prove they are masters of the catchy riff.  This is another thing many core bands have serious fail issues with, writing music.  The riffs throughout this album are memorable for the most part, going from spectacular grind segments ripe for fist pumping and face slamming, to other sections where they dip a bit into the core chug-and-lug, but with guitar sweeps and chord progressions that break the typical standards you come to expect out of all of these ear gauge bands, and they do it without, apparently from what we can tell, a single piercing.  Can it be done?  Yes.  This shouldn't be a surprise, though, because they're French.  "Huh", you say.  Well, if you haven't been paying attention, in post-hardcore, or any type of core, France has been really dominating in the past five years.  Birds in a Row, As We Draw, these guys, seems to be a huge amount of core talent coming out of there, so forget what you've heard and said about the French because they can slam core with the best of them, which isn't very many of them here in the states.

 

However, in spite of the awesome riff action in No Happy Ending, it does have one general downside, and that's the vocals.  At times, the band sings together, nice touch, we like, so note to self for future releases.  The main vocalist, however, doesn't really cut what this band needs.  Now, before we get hate comments, hear us out.  As a hardcore singer, he's good, he knows what he's doing.  He intones properly, he has depth in his singing style, and he can deliver, all good things.  But, the one important thing lacking which is entirely necessary to make headway and leave the rest of the fail core behind, is variety.  As a whole, Sebastien sings with practically the same approach the entire way through the album.  There's little variety to his delivery, and one line of lyrics sounds just like the next, when this type of music, today, absolutely requires some deviation to make it stand out, and that's lacking for Nothingness currently.  The dude can clearly deliver, he just needs to focus more on providing some intricacy to his style so the guitars aren't carrying the entirety of the score, which we've given here without reservation.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Nothingness: No Happy Ending
Self-Released
4 / 5