It’s probably not surprising that there is little in the way of information available about a band called None. They don’t pop up in the normal places you would try and gather facts about everything from band members to releases, inside leg measurements and favourite colours, although as far as the last question is concerned no doubt the answer would be black. All we have to go on is a scant introduction from the Canadian Record Label’s homepage telling us that they are from the Pacific Northwest, a breeding ground for the strange and mysterious so it is off to Cascadia we go. The chilly cover of this gives little away too and inside photos of a duo providing ‘instruments and voice’ are suitably fuzzed out facially. The music too is short of description. We have three tracks entitled ‘Cold,’ ‘Wither’ and ‘Suffer’ running at around the 30 minute mark and blending into each other to give the impression of a continuous piece of music.
Spring may well be in the air but here we are in a lonely place of wintery depressiveness and things sparkle into life and plummet into a doom-laden melodic plateau, heavy on melody but full of the barren feel of neglect and solitude. What sounds like gasps on the verge of tears can be heard faintly at first but vocals come in and totally penetrate the cold, dark void with snarling blackened grief at their heart. The depressive tones of the music go hand-in hand with them and the overall effect is gorgeousness in the face nihilism. Definitely bordering on the DSBM side of things, the repetitive tones here and abrasive vocal clamour take you into a place to dwell in darkness, one where you can let your thoughts wander along with the music and settle into in a comfortable place that’s actually incredibly relaxing. Spoken word parts linger under the surface and keyboard lines give this an air of similarity and familiarity to artists such as Vanhelga, Shining, Austere and Woods Of Desolation. The piano etched serenade and acoustic guitar-work is beautiful before the track clamours into a feral and bombastic pitch and gallops off like a polar bear over the ice cap offering no escape for its prey.
This is definitely music for those that like to drape themselves in a numbing state equivalent to morphine and drift along in a narcotic fug. Some strident growling vocal parts rasp away not sounding a million miles from Kvarforth within the second section and really hit the mark. On the whole the performance from the singer could be summed up as ‘tortured’ but here there is an air of antagonism and disgust. Everything ultimately comes across as incredibly well structured and heartfelt and I keep being drawn back in to its folds, no doubt in part due to the perfect compact running time of the disc. With things building up to thick throaty roars and a powerful musical backbone the sound is nothing short of glorious here as it fully consumes the listener before gazing off across the frozen wastelands and slowly drawing things to conclusion. When silence eventually falls it’s as though the lights have been turned off and the only real way to fill the gap left is by pressing play again. A fantastic debut and a great cold journey into nothingness.
(8/10 Pete Woods)