Album Review :
Once Nothing - First Came The Law

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Band: Once Nothing
Title: First Came The Law
Label: Solid State
Released: 1/15/2008
Review By: JoshIVM

Tracklisting:

01. The Intimidator
02. Avoid Me Like The Plague
03. Juliet Or At Least What’s Left Of Her
04. Gunfire Is The Sound of Freedom
05. The Dust Of A Town
06. My Sweet Medusa
07. Columbus Wasn’t Looking For America
08. Then There Were Nine
09. All My Heroes Are Cowboys
10. The Truth About Me Or Someone Like Me
11. Whiskey Breath
12. …And Then Came Grace

Members/Duties:

Todd Lowry: Vocals
Josh Branas: Guitar
Giuseppe Capolupo: Drums
Steve Lucarelli: Bass
David Burkes: Guitar

Upon first listen I started the first song and then quickly moved to the second. “Avoid Me Like The Plague” seemed to be a better offering of what the band presented on the last album. The high/low guitar pattern and Lowry’s throaty vocals are a great mix. About one minute in the band speeds things up and does a little more fingerwork on the guitar reminiscent of the other wave of metalcore. Then my fears were confirmed, the band went Southern. Thankfully in this track it only lasts for a short time and then things speed back up before culminating in more thunderous breakdowns. “Gunfire Is The Sound Of Freedom” offers more speedy, 2-step, metalcore. The band gets a bit more creative here in their breakdown with the second guitar. “Ahhh, swing it” then chimes it and I laughed. It came across as cheesy and forced. “My Sweet Medusa” felt really out of place for me and might have done better at the end of the album. It’s a soft ballad that features delicately sung vocals accompanied by acoustic guitar. “Columbus Wasn’t Looking For America” shows off more of what I want from this band. At first the song sounded like another southern laced hardcore romp but then the rhythm sections absolutely pummels your senses. The song continues on shifting sounds from time to time and midway through offers some guitar riffing that reminds me of As I Lay Dying. Lowry shows off some deeper toned vocals during the last breakdown. The song should have ended there. For some reason they opted to go into another southern part, and it ruined the song for me. I do have to give Once Nothing props in regards to breakdowns which they use heavily but do it well.

The band does do a decent job offering some variety into the southern-tinged metalcore movement. Lowry’s vocals and the thick, deep tones of the guitar make it heavier than Maylene and others. The band also stays away from clean vocals, the other positive on the album for me. I do give them a pat on the back for that but I wish they’d drop the southern thing altogether. I think they’re a better band without it. Some songs had me really into it and then lost me and some just never hooked me at all. I’m a fan of southern rock without a doubt, but it’s overdone in metalcore these days and unfortunately for me, Once Nothing just added another one to the list.

Overall Rating: This is one of the biggest letdowns for me so far this year. I had incredibly high hopes for this band and was really into their last album, but they lost me. The southern influence really ruined this album. I want to like it but I just can’t get into it no matter how many times I try. Maybe it will grow on me if I keep trying, but that’s not what I was hoping for. (5.5/10)

Standout Tracks: “Columbus Wasn’t Looking For America”, “Whiskey Breath”

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