With a long third album recurring to lyrics on social injustice, the Southern Californians are back with seventeen tracks; don't worry, as the two vocalists and several styles displayed make the long listening a heterogenous and smooth journey in complete comfort.
Altho self-released, the recording is powerful and precise enough due to the production at the Love Juice Labs, which allowed the act to make masterpieces reality such as "Phoenix Rising" and "This Broken Heart", gifted with amazing refrains and kick drums of heavy presence.
The solid Rap beats and the Pop vocals mixed with Rock ones, the orchestrated sound of a violin and the arrangements make the title track irresistible, whereas metallic vocals, Modern rock, and constant keys are the peculiarities of "Other Side", along with a brief Industrial metal raid.
"Mississippi" reminds of Nine Inch Nails and White Zombie, utilizing angry vocals, R.A.T.M. vocals and other melodic ones. Bound to stick in your memory.
The moving "Breathe" shows James LaBrie vocals and keys on the background in the beginning; when the rhythm intensifies the vocals become desperate in tune with the lyrics dealing with indifference toward the not-haves, the homeless, those without a job, health, help and abandoned by everybody. The drums are triggered, and there're also electronic pads. What an unforgettable piece of art followed by the brutal "Blowback", cheekily Beastie Boys-like and therefore involving from the first second; yet, there's much more later: the refrain is more modern and there's an A Perfect Circle/Shattered Destiny structure delivering a Prog metal twist to the composition. Decidedly the most complete song, hopefully to be taken as a pattern for the future.
"The Plan" is the one putting bass lines in your face; Rap and Rock meet, satisfying Primus, Audioslave fans and R.A.T.M. even more thanks to some vocals identical to Zack De La Rocha's and a guitar solo so influenced by the same band's style.
The frantic and guitaristicly-aggressive "Right" is like Danko Jones + Andrew W.K. + Atari Teenage Riot, while the following "The Rope" is closer to Frank Zappa and World Port with a Metal addition a là Candiria and raving midi inserts.
"Control" is like a version of R.H.C.P. heavier and enriched by keyboards and noises preceding Alternative metal parts. Unbelievable arrangements leaving breathless.
Time for "Genome" and the ghost of Tool appears in the first part, while the rest is closer to bands such as early Soil, Shinedown, Drowning Pool and all the post-Slipknot bands born from their singer's input.
"Artifice" is a penetrating intermezzo similar to the intro "What Kind of Nation", both with political overtones and invountarily close to Joseph C.
Excellent choice of beats and keyboards sounds for "Wall"; some vocals are effected, others just mad but still clean; there's a right balance between electronica and Rock and in the end it's one of the most original songs.
An extended version of the title track with different vocals and arrangements more suitable to the radio comes before the closure, "Back2Back '09", an old composition proposed again in a new version; I haven't listened to the first, still this one sounds like an orgy between T-Ride and 24/7 Spyz.
An album like this may seem easy to put together, but the chances of failing the target are high, so I beg you not to underestimate the effort behind "Nothing More Than Light", as it is brilliantly written, expertly executed and filled with the kind of songwriting most acts of the genre can only dream of.
Warning: dangerously addictive!
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - April 5th, 2013