Nothing Noble – Modern Dismay Review

I’m not sure how everyone got their start with metal, but there had to be a bit of a transition to the more extreme stuff, unless you eat nails for breakfast while listening to Cryptopsy’s None So Vile. Unlike you sausage or oatmeal or vegemite shippers who are descended from the yesteryears of heavy, thrash, or doom, I enjoy my eggs with my bacon: my origins of Christian metalcore a la Demon Hunter, Haste the Day, and Oh Sleeper stick with me. While metalcore has not been the kindest to me thus far in 2021 (Everture, anyone?), I’m always rooting for any that may wander across my lap like a feral kitten. Is Nothing Noble available for adoption?

Nothing Noble is a Danish band from Copenhagen, previously releasing an EP and a full-length under the ironic moniker Everything is Terrible. Now rebranded, this quartet boasts a “progressive metalcore” sound complete with bouncy grooves and a melodic dimension. When I say “progressive,” you say “djent,” okay? Channeling the -core ilk of countrymen Cabal and soul-searchers Silent Planet – oh, and Periphery, lots of Periphery – new full-length Modern Dismay is a bit of an allegorical title. Nothing Noble offers forty-eight minutes of tried tired and true djent with far too few highlights to justify its length.

When Nothing Noble leans hard into the ambiance and mood, tracks like “As Shadows Grow Long,” “Torn Asunder,” and instrumental “Carnation” stand out with their nearly Vildhjarta-meets-Uneven Structure-meets-Scale the Summit balance of heavy and atmospheric. Downtuned chugs collide with evocative plucking and synths, creating a crystalline and frail atmosphere akin to Silent Planet’s When the End Began, granting these tracks a destination, as scenic vistas and dark canyons greet the mind’s eye. “Torn Asunder” benefits from guest vocalist Kim Song Sternkopf of Møl to provide blackened shrieks that stand at interestingly dark odds with the melodic vulnerability, reaching nearly Deafheaven blackgaze proportions. It will come as no surprise that Modern Dismay was produced and mixed by Chris Kreutzfeldt, whose resume includes Danish acts like Cabal, Ghost Iris, and Møl. He handles the tone well, furthermore, giving nearly deathcore weight without the deathy heft, and vocals a distinct depth, although the melodic overlays have a tendency to get lost in the djunz.

As such, for the vast majority of Modern Dismay, dime-a-dozen djent riffs dominate in a bit of a situation of “what if Cabal ditched blackened deathcore and did lame djent?” The title track, “Bond of Blood” (which features an unspectacular guest appearance from End/Counterparts’ Brendan Murphy), and “Rotting Away” are the ears’ first greeting after limp intro “(of doom),” feeling copied and pasted from Elitist’s Caves EP or Periphery’s self-titled. The husky vocals are nearly identical to Cabal’s Andreas Bjulver, which doesn’t seem to mesh with the onslaught of clean polyrhythms and grooves, aside from the painfully repetitive “A Breath of the Dirt,” which feels straight out of Mark of Rot. Furthermore, while Nothing Noble’s utility of melody is notable, it’s not entirely unique, as acts like Volumes or TesseracT have a history of fusing djent with melody. Ultimately, djenty rhythms are not bad. It’s just that the Meshuggah dead horse has been beaten even in the afterlife, and Nothing Noble ends up being little more than another symptom of the over-saturation of djent bands that have sprouted up over the last decade.

“Progressive” is a dangerous descriptor for metalcore. Are you getting the latest Between the Buried and Me to challenge -core tropes, or are you getting the newest and most mediocre iteration of Volumes? In this case, with the exception of a handful of tracks, you are very much getting the latter. Don’t get me wrong, Nothing Noble has proven they are capable and competent musicians, as Modern Dismay’s highlights show with vocal variety, melodic intelligence, and a sense of delicate destination. However, tired djent riffs assault the ears for too long as overlays attempt to compensate – with little payoff. If you’re a fan of the style, feel free to pick this one up, but adopting this feral kitten is Nothing Noble – the fleas of mediocrity can really jack up the vet bill.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Prime Collective
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: August 6th, 2021

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