Artist: God of Nothing
Album: Silent Silhouette – EP
It creeps in every hallway of your home—following you silently down the stairs, into every room you set foot into. It never leaves you, not for a moment, never failing to fall in the silences set by the offset of your gait—the subtle shuffling that fills the empty space between your footfalls and your heartbeats. It haunts the spaces of your brain once reserved for sanity but, in the recent months following your collapse into madness, have become home to little more than spirits of a past you wish you could outrun.
It is the ghost of the life you left behind—the bitter haunt of better days—and it won’t stop until you’re six feet deep. It is a Silent Silhouette, the aptly-named 2017 release by Virginian eviscerators and purveyors of all things punishing, God of Nothing. Laden with dismally dissonant grooves and horrendous heaviness, laced with a sharp, scathing infusion of bouncy nu-metal and finished with a gritty, sandpaper-like production that leaves the listeners ear’s raw and ragged. Silent Silhouette, is, in reality, just about anything but silent, as it sees God of Nothing leaving behind a large portion of their penchant for downtempo aggression and over-the-top technicality from their past as they embrace a much varied sound.
Silent Silhouette takes elements from God of Nothing’s previous releases—the copious amounts of dismal, daunting heaviness and brooding, bitter atmosphere and combine it with a renewed emphasis on bounce and energy that keeps the releasing moving along with fluidity and ferocity. Percussionist Koury Pounds punishes every aspect of his kit, abusing it to within an inch of its life. While the megaton opener, “Lord Death,” sees Pounds’ focus honed on horrendous, hellish aggression at the expensive of speed and candor, songs like “Dead & Dreaming” and “Lorraine” are quicker and more piercing, showcasing Pounds working in dialectic with guitarists Michael Slaughter and Corey Richburg to create an instrumental edge that cuts like a knife. Together, Slaughter and Richburg continue the theme established by percussionist Pounds, taking the previous styles utilized by God of Nothing and twisting them into something different. For the most part, this is effective—evoking energy and dispelling lethargy—however, at times, the EP seems to lull; this is especially true of “Bastard Son,” which, despite its misanthropic title and intent, seems to lack the punch and drive prevalent throughout God of Nothing’s previous efforts. However, “Dead & Dreaming,” and even the simple-but-skull-splitting introduction, “Lord Death,” sees the duo channeling aggression with incredible efficacy, working with bassist Steven Hoisington to raise utter hell in the way the band are most known for. Hoisington continues to add heft and density to Pounds’ drumming while providing Richburg and Slaughter with a stellar firmament upon which to build bouncy, groovy segments and sinister, scathing and riff-driven salvos of unbridled aggression. Even in spite of moments that fall short of the band’s otherwise sky-high standards, this quintet still deliver heat in a manner so distilled and unrefined, the listening might swear it’s from hell itself.
At God of Nothing’s helm—as always—is frontman Ridz Holsclaw, whose talents continue to expand and envelop the listener’s stifled sanity in the same manner as the remainder of the band’s musical growth. Holsclaw’s vocal effort continues the upward trend that was established through the previous two albums by the quintet—filled with a staggering range of vocal styles and catchy-yet-crushing patterns that highlight Holsclaw’s versatility and talent all in one fell swoop. While “Bastard Son” might not win the listener’s heart with its instrumental intricacies, Holsclaw’s grisly, guttural bellows and harsh, shrill shrieks simply shine (even if there’s a portion where he sounds like a zombified version of Yoda, which doesn’t fit quite as well as his other styles and ranges.) Meanwhile, “Dead & Dreaming” sees Holsclaw working on developing catchier vocal patterns and more personal, brooding and bitter lyrics that dwell on depressive inadequacy. Holsclaw’s intensity and emotion he brings to Silent Silhouette is every bit what a veteran listener would expect from the band’s frontman, and every bit what a relative newcomer might need to get them hooker.
Silent Silhouette is the sound of God of Nothing’s continued growth and adaptation—and like with many bands, where there are moments of enormous triumph with a relative modification of sound, there are missteps as well. These are mostly minor—the relatively mundane “Bastard Son,” saved only by Holsclaw’s incredible vocal range, and the EP’s somewhat grainy and gritty production which does as much good as it does bad—leaving plenty of room for success. Silent Silhouette is easily the catchiest and grooviest the band have ever been, combining bouncy riffs with bold and explosive breakdowns with immense expertise. Songs like the dismal and bleak “Dead & Dreaming,” as well as the haunting and intimate “Lorraine” see the band at the top of their game, giving a prominent and piercing point to the hollow-tipped, point-blank gunshot of a release that is God of Nothing’s third studio effort.
For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, VCTMS, REX, Genocide District, RVNT
By: Connor Welsh