For Fans Of
When a group of already established musicians collaborate on a new project, it brings with it a mixture of expectation and uncertatinty. Generally, fans of the artists will know they are capable in their skills as a musician, but in the end, no one knows what new influences and different types of experimentation will bring to the final product. So when singer/guitarist Ryan Hunter (Envy on the Coast), bassist Michael Sadis (The Rivalry) and drummer Billy Rymer (The Dillinger Escape Plan) started collaborating as NK (originally known as North Korea), frankly, fans had no idea what to expect. The result of this comes out in the band’s first full-length effort, ‘Nothing to Be Gained Here.’
From the moment Hunter starts singing in opening track ‘Confessional,’ it becomes very clear that these musicians have no problem hitting new territory, moving from his previous vocal style in favour of some more hip-hop infused elements. However, don’t take that to mean that previous styles have been abandoned. ‘Confessional‘ and ‘Kings‘ open the album by showing us that, experimentation aside, these guys still have their roots in heavy music, and it shines through clear as anything.
Fans of Billy Rymer‘s work with The Dillinger Escape Plan may not get what they’re looking for here, although frankly that’s to be expected. The drumming is a lot more reserved, and follows far stricter rhythmic patterns. This doesn’t mean that we don’t get to hear Rymer show off his stuff, it just comes through in different ways. You’ll get the occasional complex beat in songs such as closer ‘Set a Fire‘, but it seems the goal here is mostly to simply keep the music in step and provide a solid texture, rather than to make it as chaotic as possible, and Rymer does an absolutely astounding job of it throughout the entire album.
There’s a variety of different styles showcased, from the heavy hip-hop grooves of ‘Confessional‘ or ‘Kings,’ to the ambience of ‘X It Out‘ and percussively driven ‘Memo‘, to the often nonsensical ‘Shoulder Gorilla.’ These three musicians have shown that, if it wasn’t already clear enough, they refuse to boxed into anything, anywhere, and frankly, the final outcome of that is fantastic.
‘Nothing to Be Gained Here’ is a perfect example of just how good something can turn out when a group of talented artists click with each other and step out of their comfort zone a bit. At times chanelling artists like the Deftones, at others artists like Rage Against The Machine, and even others Mike Patton, this is an album that has the potential to please fans of any of these three musicians, as long as they can come to it with an open mind.
- Shoulder Gorilla
- Vacation Days
- X It Out
- Set A Fire