Artist: The Color Nothing / Depreciator
Album: Null/Void – Split EP
Allow us, for a second, to explore the spectrum of human sensation and emotion that defines the very essence of what makes us people. The sprawling array of ways in which we feel and exist in this plane of existence—happiness, sadness, sorrow, grief, loss and lassitude. The subtle differences between fear and anxiety—hatred and loathing—or the leaps from lust to love, and from love to loss, and, of course, our reaction to loss. Behavioral scientists have spent millions of pages and just as many hours on trying to quantify this aspect of our psyche—our very humanity—just as pharmacologists have tried to synthesize it and physicians have tried to fix it. All with frighteningly little avail. Consider this for just a second, and then continue to slack your jaw and widen your eyes as spastic, sinister masters of mathy and chaotic hardcore The Color Nothing join forced with resident brooding, bitter brutes Depreciator to bring a split EP that, in eight tracks and under thirty minutes seems to expertly explore the entirety of the Human Condition. Combining two radically different yet bizarrely complementary styles of heavy music, the two acts range from the shocking, invigorating sensation of “wait, what the Hell did I just hear?” To exploring what it truly is to have loved and lost, wallowing in the depths of despair and sullen heartache. Every track from each act brings something remarkable and new to the table—and Null/Void is an adventure you won’t want to skip out on.
While heavy music has certainly maintained its trajectory towards the more extreme niches and styles, it seems to have lost a little bit of its chaotic panache. These days, things are polished, refined, glitzy and shiny—which is cool and all—but it detracts a fair bit from the organic and emotional aspect of music meant to convey raw, primal fury. Enter The Color Nothing—a band that sounds like a young The Dillinger Escape Plan mixed with late 2000s artists like Duck Duck Goose or Daughters with a slightly more…unique vibe.
Let me try that again—because it’s hard to describe The Color Nothing by likening them to other bands; but hopefully, you at least know what you’re in for when it comes to the band’s half of Null/Void.
The Color Nothing are all over the place, from spastically heavy to moody, introspective and melancholy, often within the same song. Percussionist Keith Bevacqui hammers away on the introductory number “Permadeath/Welcomed Ends,” yet adds an upbeat, peppy and two-step friendly segment on “Siamese Jesus,” all while flying back and forth across his kit, dominating with splashy, bright cymbal work and quick fills. Bevacqui works excellently with bassist Christian Casteel, as well as the two dynamic, devastatingly talented guitarists Mathew Quigley and Dan Mannix to create songs that blur the line between contemporary, groovy segments and spazzy, unpredictable riffs, all while adding the occasionally crunchy, bone-busting breakdowns. “Siamese Jesus,” once more, sees Mannix and Quigley working excellently together, while the booming and monstrous “Rosea Mare” (which has some odd serenity mixed in there, to boot) sees the duo channeling some classically yester-year mathcore and adding Casteel’s thick, grisly bass for heft and heaviness.
This all serves as a canvas for the unorthodox and engaging vocal styles of frontman Christopher Leonardis, whose voice ranges from belted, almost-sang yells to raw, raspy, blood-tinged screams and shouts so visceral the listener fan feel his spit on their cheek when they listen. This is especially true of “Rosea Mare,” where Leonardis works with the dynamic fretwork from Mannix and Quigley to a tee—and the side-ending track “Siamese Jesus,” where his repeated brays of I’m not me anymore seem to obfuscate the margins that divide singing, talking and screaming. The result? Well, at first, it might be unclear as to how to actually feel about Leonardis’ vocal style—and while The Color Nothing are far from a conventionally accessible band, they bring something new and unbelievable to 2017’s music scene, and Leonardis’ voice is at the forefront. While some might find themselves just unable to get into the dense, spastic nature of the songs, anyone who has had any time to explore the annals of heavy music once reserved for shady torrent sites in years past will find familiarity and fun in The Color Nothing without a hitch.
Fresh off the heels of The Color Nothing’s very unique display of depraved, spastic and energetic aggression, New Jersey underground juggernauts Depreciator let loose with four tracks of depression-tinged, ultra-negative heaviness that nearly defies description. Their half of Null/Void takes the sound they captured on their debut record—the same sound that catapulted them to a lofty level of notoriety in the local circuit and throughout the internet—and hone it into something even more unique and insane. Combining lyrical themes that are, well…sell-deprecating, with instrumentation that adds elements of heavy hardcore, slam, mathcore and deathcore all into one mind-bending experience. Where they were young, angsty and reckless previously, they, as a group, find themselves jaded by the experience and disappointment that several more years of live, love and lost hope can bring—and their efforts on Null/Void capture that in a crystal clear fashion.
On the rampant “Isolation” and the invigorating, immense “Asterion” and every track in between, Depreciator run a range between sludgy, low-and-slow brutality and quick, punchy and catchy segments reminiscent of Yuth Forever’s days before they went by Yuth Forever. At the band’s core, percussionist Michael Yager is the unbreakable backbone that brings together elements of fast-handed, fleet-footed deathcore together with straight-up-slamming elements and clever, dancy hip-hop influence; subtle, but catchy, adding to that intangible, hard-to-capture-with-words sensation that Depreciator convey. Yager’s drumming and his talents are vast, but where he’s at is best is considering his dynamic ability to work with bassist Christian Chaffee to create a grisly low-end that gives guitarists Christopher Valentin and Danny Del Priore a foundation upon which to craft a dazzling cathedral of crushing, dark and brooding malevolence. Chaffee’s bass snaps and rumbles alongside Yager’s kick drum, sharply contrasting his cracking snare on “Serpent,” while working on his own, filling in the space between the drums and guitar on “Casuist.” All the while, Valentin and Del Priore work together to redefine what the listener might consider to be heavy—not just because the breakdowns are nuts and the grooves are cool, but because the duo’s dynamic fretwork is among the best at capturing the sensation of self-loathing in its purest form—giving the band’s vocals and lyrics a platform to pierce the listener’s brain.
Frontman Cody Canning takes everything that Depreciator do brilliantly with their instrumentation and step it up a notch, dominating the mic with grisly growls, shrill yells and raw, belted barks that preach lyrics of pure, depressive angst that are almost frightening in their relatability. It’s the curved barb on the sterling-silver hook that Depreciator use to snare the listener—while the musicianship is second-to-none, Canning’s vocals and lyrics step everything up a notch or ten, giving the band’s entire atmosphere a focused and furious purpose.
Depreciator and The Color Nothing work together to capture depressive, violent, negative aggression and a more chaotic, euphoric, weird-fever-dream sort of sensation that, dialectically, consume every sense the listener has. While The Color Nothing might have slightly less instant appeal, the band’s unique nature and artistry can’t be denied—just as Depreciator live up to every ounce of hype they’ve accrued in the months following their debut. Together, the two groups make a veritable experience—something you’ve really got to hear and let swallow you whole.
The Color Nothing: 4.5/5
For Fans Of: Duck Duck Goose, He Is Legend, The Dillinger Escape Plan
For Fans Of: Yuth Forever, Barrier, Kublai Khan, Bodysnatcher
By: Connor Welsh