Black Market Serotonin

Something From Nothing

Written by: IM on 02/03/2013 00:46:57

“Something From Nothing” is the first studio album from Manchester prog rockers Black Market Serotonin. The band consists of Andrew Pimblott with the two starring roles of vocalist and guitarist, backed by Michael Coleman on drums and Lee Campbell on bass. Given the Mancunian trio have been hailed by a number of critics as Tool sound-alikes, the burning question arising from “Something From Nothing” is ‘is this true?’ By their own admission, the band take inspiration from industrial noisemakers Nine Inch Nails, which would go some way towards explaining why they sound like prog coupled with industrial metal. Following the rapturously received EP “DeadByFiveOClock,” described by 'Classic Rock presents prog' as ‘an important line drawn in the creative sand’ Black Market Serotonin have set themselves rather high expectations to live up to.

“Something From Nothing” is slow to start, opening with a fairly forgettable industrial sounding instrumental track. “DeadByFiveOClock” is a bit iffy too, with its rather unpolished vocals sounding not raw, but too raw. “The End of History” is definitely worthy of a listen, bursting with energy and containing some very pleasant piano playing. Three tracks in and the scales are swaying towards ‘not so good,’ thus being rather an apt moment for Pimblott to sing ‘so what is our future’ and perhaps somewhat ominously ‘into the dust we fall.’ I rather hope not, as despite some wobbles, this band does have a lot of potential. The single, “Irons in the Fire,” has a very catch intro but given the standard of the vocals, which follow, an incredibly poor choice for such a release. The following and rather contrasting track, “Purity,” then resonates with a surprising and almost church like quality.

Whilst Black Market Serotonin have rather repetitively been likened to Tool, by half way through the album, the similarity is far less prominent than one might expect. A resemblance to elements of Nine Inch Nails’ “The Fragile” does spring to mind momentarily throughout. There are certainly elements of Tool-ish similarity, such as the spaced out sounding sounding guitar intros, especially on “Something From Nothing Part 1.” This track has a stereotypically Tool introduction, but once the vocals kick in, the similarity ends as Pimblott does not remotely resemble Maynard Keenan. Whilst there may be some similarities in aspects, when the elements are put together, the likeness between the two bands becomes diluted. However, as the album progresses through “Something From Nothing” Parts II and III, the reasons for the comparison become abundantly evident. As the album continues with “Something From Nothing” Parts IV and V, the obvious criticism would be that naming tracks with the same title followed by numbers has always bands’ cop-out of choice in track naming. Perhaps a more suitable name for this little musical opus would have been ‘Something From Tool Parts I to V.’ The instrumentals on these five tracks are practically a celebration of Tool’s dreamy, detached, guitar solos which build up to a climax in the most epically prog way possible. The strongest track of this collection and easily the best of the album is “Something From Nothing Part III.” It has a more polished and musically accomplished sound to it than the rest. By the concluding track “Hours,” the album has progressed in standard, to something remarkably enjoyable.

The album itself is a perplexing conundrum, ebbing and flowing from epically mundane to the moderately epic. The band’s strengths are definitely in their catchy proggish riffs and critically acclaimed ‘synth-laden soundscapes,’ their speciality being their other worldly, dreamy intros. However, Pimblott’s vocals aren’t as strong as his guitar playing. The two almost don’t sit together well, as though they could have been superimposed from two different bands. On balance, the album itself is quite a mixed bag, with some epic instrumental tracks combined with some not quite so epic tracks. The fundamental issue with “Something from Nothing” is that although Black Market Serotonin are undoubtedly accomplished musicians, something is just missing from it, but when considering what that ‘something’ is, nothing concrete springs to mind. Some may conclude that whilst the guitars on “Something From Nothing” are outstanding, Black Market Serotonin might do better if Pimblott just stuck to playing his guitar or at the very least had a bit of vocal training. A pertinent question to end with would be: are Black Market Serotonin the next Tool, or just a bunch of tools? The answer would be neither; Pimblott could probably join Tool as an extra guitarist, but certainly won’t be replacing Maynard Keenan any time soon.

5

Download: The End of History, Something From Nothing III, Hours
For The Fans Of: Tool, Hurt, Crowbar, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 19.04.2013
Superstar Destroyer

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