Almost is Nothing
Ways to Spend the End of Days
2007, Independent Release
Almost is Nothing, "Ways to Spend the End of Days"
So I’m leaving yet another overpriced, letdown metal show at Portland’s Roseland Theater at midnight, and lo and behold there are a couple of guys across the street with a boom box on a card table blasting some music that’s vaguely reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder and earlier Darkest Hour. The part of town, though not exactly dangerous, is quite sketchy, so these guys are kind of ballsy to be doing this late at night. There’s a small crowd gathered around the table, and one of the guys says that the music blaring is from his band, and for $2.00 I could be the proud owner of their album. Not a bad grassroots marketing campaign, if you ask me.
The band is a Portland act called Almost is Nothing, and the disc I procured is titled Ways to Spend the End of Days. It’s ten tracks of surprisingly well-produced, smartly played thrashy, deathy metalcore-y stuff with plenty of kick and lots of potential. The 41-minutes of the disc are aggressive, mostly fast and pretty damn easy to digest and enjoy. “Back from the Dead” kicks things off, grabbing you by the short n’ curlies and persists to beat and bludgeon, exactly how you’d hope from bands playing this style of music. In fact, most of this disc is a solid cudgeling in the form of razor-wire riffage, smart soloing and raw-throated aggression.
For a debut full-length release from an unsigned band, Ways to Spend the End of Days is pretty fucking impressive…though there are a few things I would really like to see the band tune up for future albums. The most glaring of these is that the average, banal “-core” sound comes through on a couple tracks, mostly when the vocalist eases off and uses spoken/sung vocals. This doesn’t happen all that often on the disc, but it does make me want to skip the songs “Requiem for Tomorrow,” and “Perpetually Endowed.” Almost is Nothing is too good to need this kind of gimmick to propel their music. They ought to trash it, scream more, and maybe add a second, brutal vocal attack or a shout along chorus in its place. Doing this could hopefully help them flesh out more of their own sound and add another layer of heaviness to their already strong material. In all, though, Almost is Nothing is another PDX act that I will add to my list of local bands to keep tabs on.
Back from the Dead