Some words in music, “metalcore” perhaps heading the list, give me a nervous twitch on my way to the play button. I expect the same album I’ve heard a thousand times before, an album that wasn’t brilliant the first time and certainly hasn’t proven a grower in subsequent, renamed listens. Fortunately for Promethee, ‘Nothing Happens. Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes’ is not this record. This is not startlingly original but it’s also far from the same tired collection of tracks.
The album breaks amidst the static that introduces ‘The Great Deception’, launching into beastly riff and driving drums. Then the vocals hit, gravel and spit abound as expected but more than well enough executed. As the song ploughs on the drums continue to hold things up and as Promethee hit their first breakdown they display what it is that separates them from the pack. Sure, in parts this album is standard fare – a big riff here, double bass drumming there – but rather than having a lazy section, chugged guitars and blasts, Promethee take the opportunity to mix things up a little. It is just that, a little, a riff that holds over as ‘The Great Deception’ makes its way towards the end, a riff that hosts originality, and varies from simple influences, maintaining interest until the mightier riff of second track ‘Banner of Lies’ takes over.
This second track is where issues make their way into the light, however. These two tracks sound different, there is an incredible little bit of guitar playing here that pricks the ears and refocuses some attention that I hadn’t even realized I’d lost. It’s difficult to tell why it started to drop in the first place, these two tracks flow perfectly together – but whether because they’re so well written or too musically familiar is anybody’s call.
‘Of Loss and Disgust’ works well. There are some obvious builds and vocal breaks in all the right places, you can feel the change coming and it’s hard to stop the involuntary air punch that comes as another heavy riff bursts back to life. There are times that this doesn’t happen, however, that proves the greatest achievement; when prepared for another harsh change and greeted with a little bit of high octane riffage everything feels better. Surprise is king.
‘Genesis’ is a standout track in that it’s the most unusual on the album without feeling out of place; there is still plenty of heavy rhythms and neat playing on display here with the vocals making it so unique – quiet, almost unnoticeable spoken word sits back and allows the music to take the fore. In this sense the track is almost an instrumental, helped along by the vocals beneath without having them distract from the music too much. The vocals are excellent on every track but elsewhere on the album they’re an excellent portrayal of contemporary metal. On ‘Genesis’ they’re smarter, their usage almost poetic in subtlety and they aid the progression incredibly.
Tracks like the eighth and ninth, ‘Thus Spoke’ and ‘Sickness Unto Death’, make me wonder how I ever had attention issues with this album and lend a hand in keeping Promethee well inside the plus column. Big songs, big riffs, and deep, passionate vocals rule the roost as they have from the beginning yet as the album reaches its climax, they seem to come together stronger than before. ‘Thus Spoke’ has the album’s coolest riff, part generic metal, part just super cool guitar playing. This track also houses more of the slow, discordant work that has come and gone throughout ‘Nothing Happens…’ and amongst driving drums and sweeping guitars these little frills offer a hand in what could well have turned out a vast sea of the overdone. Again, on this track Promethee utilize the breakdown wonderfully. Slow yet building, solid vocals erupting with the music before all drops below some truly great guitar work as the track rises to a close.
‘Sickness Unto Death’ takes top spot in terms of a passionate performance. The desperation in vocalist Joshua Orsi’s voice is palpable and a pleasure to hear. The track’s atmospheric melodies and brilliant drumming build perfectly into final track ‘Oblivion.’ A continuation of ‘Sickness Unto Death’s emotional rawness with a hint of some well deserved showing off.
This is a good record, regardless of whatever issues it might hold for me. Like all music it’s not for everyone; unlike all music it has vast merits and will be loved by many. ‘Nothing Happens. Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes’ is passionate rock and roll and I can’t ever ask for anything more.
‘Nothing Happens. Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes.’ by Promethee is released on 21st January 2013 on Bad Moon Records.
Words by Tom Knott (@nounandthenouns)