A 12-track album having eight features on it is an impressive feat, not one to be scoffed at; released by Fueled By Ramen, NOTHING,NOWHERE.’s latest album VOID ETERNAL boasts just that, and the features are sizeable artists too. NOTHING,NOWHERE. is Joseph Mulherin, and he describes himself as an American singer, rapper, and songwriter, although on this album he also successfully branches into metalcore.
Before getting into the music itself, a pet-peeve has to be addressed, and that is the MySpace-era song titles (it will all make sense soon); whilst the underscores between words are a bit of fun and reminiscent of the pirated mp3 tracks of years gone by, the full capitals and incessant numbers for vowels are unnecessary, especially when other releases weren’t stylised in this manner. As it stands though, the album itself is a solid release, one that’s very reminiscent of the early to mid-00s era.
On an album with so many features, it comes as no surprise that there are a lot of recognisable influences on the record. Funnily enough though, not too many of the influences can be linked to the artist features themselves. One of the heaviest influences on the album is LINKIN PARK, with ANX13TY and PSYCHO_PSYCHIATRY (Ft. SPACECOWBOY) both giving strong links in both instrumental and vocal styles. The higher-pitched guitars and repetitive chant-like vocals on the latter are eerily similar to LP’s signature sound, even the vocal distortion on the rapping is borderline identical, but the track is just about different enough to still stay on the ‘inspired’ side of the line instead of the ‘copy’ side.
THIRST4VIOLENCE (FT. FREDDIE DREDD & SILVERSTEIN) gives off strong ‘TikTok metal’ vibes, combining rap and metal genres with this new TikTok hip-hop-meets-metal sub-genre that is becoming popular. The last 30-40 seconds of this track are unmistakably similar in tempo and instrumentation to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’s Killing In The Name. It seems that a theme of this album is taking musical influences and getting them as close as possible to originals without being flagged as a copy. Whilst this combination is a strange one to decipher, it does work, and while some may take it as a negative to be labelled with a ‘TikTok’ style, the platform has highlighted some of the most successful songs of the last few years and is one of the most influential social media platforms currently, so hopefully no-one should be too offended.
CHR0MAKILLER and VEN0M (ft. UNDEROATH) are the slower songs on the album, placed a third of the way through and at the end of the record to give a much-needed reprieve from the genre-bending chaos going down on the other tracks. The most memorable track on the album is SUICIDE_PACT for the overall rhythm and flow that the song has to it. It has easily the most memorable hook and chorus too, as well as the most legible vocals (and therefore most understandable lyrics).
With features from the likes of Buddy Nielsen of SENSES FAIL, STATIC DRESS and Will Ramos of LORNA SHORE, you would expect M1SERY_SYNDROM, F0RTUNE_TELLER and TRAG3DY to hit a lot harder than they actually do. Whilst the tracks aren’t inherently bad, they’re not memorable and completely fall flat from any expectations that would be built from such high-level featuring artists. CYAN1DE is probably the only feature on the album that actually audibly links to the artist on the track and the style of music they are usually known for creating, as Pete Wentz of FALL OUT BOY closes off the track with a poetic section of dialogue reminiscent of the closure of Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows) by his own band.
Subtle digs and comparisons aside, the album isn’t a bad one. VOID ETERNAL is actually a pretty decent release, and it is definitely one that will benefit from live instruments and the atmosphere of a crowd to pull it along. It will make for a great addition to playlists and to any rap-metal lover’s repertoire, but it is not an album that one is likely to keep playing from beginning to end just to enjoy it – the tracks are all too similar to each other and blend into one long repetitive piece of music.