Written by Carcassbomb
Nothing Noble – Mordern Dismay
Progressive Metalcore from Denmark
Released August 6th, 2021
Long time readers of Noob Heavy might be aware of my contempt for progressive metalcore, particularly as an Australian where the mainstream music scene is flooded with samey sounding bands in the genre. I have been so brutal towards progressive metalcore, to the point where in the past, other reviewers in the underground called my reviews “invalid” before blocking me on Twitter. Well, I’m happy to present to you a progressive metalcore album I not only enjoyed, but kind of adore.
Nothing Noble manage to sidestep a lot of the genre trappings I perceive that make many other bands hacky or bland, by embracing the aspect of metalcore that makes it… a metal subgenre. There’s none of the autotuned clean vocals paired with laughably simplistic “emotional” lyrics designed to be easily marketed towards teenagers. It’s a constant progression alternating between vocal brutality and instrumental melody, as well as a large helping of vibrant djent jams. It feels like they actually have some ideas here. There’s never a moment where the band seems to wonder what to do next, they follow through track after track and fashion some memorable ass songs.
I believe that djent struggles as a genre because of how limited it is, especially in tone. Most djent sounds the same and whether or not it varies lies more in the execution which requires a well experienced musician. Thankfully Nothing Noble have one such musician as they get quite creative with the rhythm of it, providing more than just big dumb bounces and actually DOES SOMETHING with it. With the use of technique and gear, the guitarists wrangle every bit of usefulness out of that extra string they can. The djent aspect is also broken up with breath-taking higher string melodies, which factor into the music more and more as the album glides across the 49-minute run time. They weren’t able to completely avoid the repetitive nature of the usual djent tone but christ they did everything they could with it and for that I give them credit.
Vocally it is an interesting album thanks in part to a particularly spicy guest vocalist. Let’s talk about the track “Torn Asunder”, this is the peak of the album for me, which is perfect considering it’s right in the middle. This song spans the breadth of range the band’s vocalist has to offer, from the metalcore shouting to more metal screaming, and then in between is a more sensitive area where the vocal chords are allowed to break in a way that both conveys emotion and allows for the lyrics to be heard better. There’s a turning point on the album with this track as well because it surprisingly introduces some black metal elements to the album, mostly courtesy of the guest vocals from Kim Song Sternkopf of Møl. Such a strange collaboration but holy shit is it amazing. Combining black metal, metalcore and post metal is something I’ve adored since first hearing it from Russia’s L’homme Absurde last year.
If that track alone doesn’t interest you, then I don’t know what to tell you. Everything surrounding that track is great too. The song “Risen” is another strong point on the album, and really soars despite being so late in the track listing. It’s more of a typical metalcore song in it’s catchiness and chorus but they do it with their own flare and penchant for spacey emotional moments as to not become tedious and repetitive. It’s a formula the band executes well and feels confident in bending to the limits. “Risen” is an example of where it’s more concentrated and directed into moments of power, and then “Carnation” is a good example of their formula extended and allowed to breathe, creating beautiful atmospheres. Modern Dismay as a whole is constantly fluctuating between the two like a living breathing thing.
There’s a couple of very clear playlist tracks that work well when isolated but the album is also well worth consuming in it’s entirety. They manage to make a balancing act out of contemplation and catchiness. It’s also worth noting for the hardcore enthusiasts who read my reviews that the track “Bond Of Blood” features vocals from Brendan Murphy from Counterparts. This is a band who knows how to plant surprises in their music.
It’s simply well made and interesting.