(Credit: Travis Shinn)

First Takes On Nothing More’s ‘CARNAL’ Releasing June 28th

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If there are few things you can count on in the world, let one of them be that Nothing More will consistently deliver solid, gut-wrenching tracks. If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to their transcendental music, Nothing More is a band formed in 2003, hailing from San Antonio, Texas. Its members are made up of singer Johnny Hawkins, guitarist Mark Vollelunga, bassist Daniel Oliver, and drummer Ben Anderson. Nothing More exploded into the mainstream with their self-titled album in 2014 and has since acquired three Grammy nominations.

With their seventh studio album, Carnal, Nothing More is ready to face their audience for another round. But this time, they’ve brought friends. Teaming up with the renowned scream vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe of I Prevail, Nothing More takes a daring leap into the world of heavy metal, promising a one-of-a-kind experience for their long-time fans. The track “HOUSE ON SAND” delivers dirty guitar chords and punchy drums, with Eric’s guttural screams contrasting Johnny Hawkins’ soaring vocals. You can even spot a “Blegh” in the middle, worthy of a mosh pit rage.

One of the album’s highlights is a collaboration with David Draiman on their fourth track, “ANGEL SONG.” Draiman features an entire second verse to himself, adding a new dimension to the song. Vollelunga’s brief guitar solo rips into the volitional melody, breaking the intensity momentarily with a powerful and emotive flourish. Draiman’s distinctive vocal style adds a raw and passionate edge to the track, seamlessly blending with the band’s signature sound and Hawkins’ perfunctory wail, showcasing the album’s diversity and depth.

Track six mournfully addresses personal experiences with loved ones struggling with addiction, reminiscent of their popular songs “Jenny” and “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE MEANS.” Aptly titled “Blame it on the Drugs,” the lyrical reiteration screams the same repetitive story we’ve all experienced with the devastating impact of substance abuse. The raw, heartfelt lyrics convey a deep sense of frustration and, through their message, serve as a cathartic release.

While CARNAL touches on new sound experimentation, much of the album remains too familiar to their previous work. This repetition of analogous elements and lack of innovation might leave listeners yearning for a fresh direction. The persistent use of filler tracks with speeches from Alan Watts might be a signature that borders on overuse, particularly in this album where a three-minute and forty-five-second song (|HEART|) is a portion of speech layered over a guitar track. There’s a growing need for the band to evolve their musical style and experiment with new sounds to keep their long-time audience engaged whilst attracting new listeners.

Take their thirteenth track, “STUCK (feat Sinizter),” as an example. Their collaboration with a rap artist adds an innate force to their otherwise elemental sound. It thrusts Nothing More out of the hard rock genre they’ve been stuck in (pun not intended) and opens the door to the heavy metal scene growing in popularity with other artists similar to them. These collaboration tracks showcase their ability to intensify their sound without also changing what is uniquely them, a feat not easily accomplished by many artists.

CARNAL will be released on June 28th, 2024 across all streaming platforms.

Far away in a land where they say things like “Yeah, youbetcha” and “Don’tcha know?” resides rock-loving, head-banging Kristi Burnison. Growing up in the land of country music, Kristi had the type of parents that gave her freedom to explore and enjoy different genres of music. She’s the girl you find air drumming her steering wheel at stop lights and head banging at her desk. Kristi loves all things animals and nerdy. If you can’t find her at the nearest rock show, she’s probably rolling in the grass with puppies because she loves dogs as much as she loves music. With a passion for photography and an imagination large enough to fill a library, Kristi joins Rock Documented with renewed vigor for the music industry. You see those ear buds in her ears? They aren’t playing Taylor Swift. They’re playing I Prevail. Let’s get rowdy.

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