Down To Nothing

Life On The James

Written by: PP on 22/01/2014 23:22:53

Down To Nothing have been releasing albums every couple of years since 2003 with consistent quality, making them a staple in the American hardcore scene. They're mostly following a similar path of hardcore as bands like Terror, Backtrack, Cruel Hand, No Turning Back, No Warning and many other testosterone driven hardcore bands, and in fact members of DTN also play in Terror and Trapped Under Ice. So basically they are a stereotypical hardcore band, the polar opposite of a band like Deez Nuts whose 'party hardcore' sound satirizes exactly the style that Down To Nothing play on their sixth album "Life On The James". Super serious business straight-edge hardcore about unity, family, the streets, and all that, perfectly summarized by the lyrics to "Draw 4": "...when we fight together for what we all believe. You can't break it, the boys will never die. Brothers for life, the boys will never die. United as one we stand, and fight back to back".

But that doesn't necessarily indicate it's a bad record, and that is indeed not the case with "Life On The James", even if the band are essentially in the midst of doing a 'Terror' by writing the same hardcore album over and over again for the sixth time in a row. This isn't a problem because their aggressive brand of hardcore is actually rather good overall. There are hints of punk rock melody in many songs - particularly in "Sheffield" and the aforementioned "Draw 4"- and plenty of bro sing along moments with well placed gang shouts to make sure any hardcore fan will be moshing the night away reaching for the mic whenever these guys come to town. No bullshit, no unnecessary extra measures, just straight up hardcore with groove-laden down-tuned guitars and yelled vocals on top. These two work together in a great dynamic that ensures an energetic presence without any breakdown or moshcore sections ruining the flow.

Moreover, there's enough subtle melody in their otherwise perfectly standard hardcore sound to make them stand out from their peers, which is precisely why Down To Nothing have risen above the gray mass of like-minded contemporaries into a band of actual relevance. "Life On The James" doesn't re-invent the wheel for hardcore, but it doesn't need to, either. Much like Terror's "Live By The Code", it showcases the style exactly how it should be played with no regrets.

Download: Draw 4, Sheffield, Life On The James
For the fans of: Terror, Backtrack, No Turning Back, Cruel Hand, No Warning
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.09.2013
Revelation Records

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