Review: Love is Nothing “Chapter I” 3” CD

This new, self-described "digital metal" project sees Leech from Navicon Torture Technologies handling lyrics, vocals, mixing, and editing while joining forces with some of his occasional collaborators Maliks (guitar, drums, and additional sounds), Nick Dellapenna (bass), and Mark Kammerbauer of Fragment King (also on guitar, drums, and additional sounds). Things begin with a great deal of promise, kicking off right away with layers of power chords and dissonant textures over a simple drumbeat with plenty of lightly distorted screams/yells before shifting into waves of feedback and wispy midrange noise before the three-minute mark. This approach thins out and hits on a few Godflesh-like moments over the next few minutes as subtly rhythmic loops or sparse percussive sounds occasionally layer in and distant yelling starts to make its way into the background. Near eight minutes in a brooding form of barely audible singing starts to add melody behind the distorted waves as a more sinister pulse starts to signal a steep rise as disharmonic hard panned guitar lines interact with one another along the outer edges before fading away to a reverberated hum of windy midrange ambience. Then the singing returns with a hint more breathing room to create somewhat of a lulled drone alongside a slow, repetitive guitar arpeggio that eases back on the distortion. Nearly six minutes later the track sort of reinvents itself with a restrained distorted beat and some excellently twisted guitar lines behind intense layers of screaming and singing. The only problem here is that the vocals are suddenly way loud, and though they sound awesome, they almost entirely drown out some of the finest guitar work of the entire composition. But before you know it things have settled back into another rather ambient passage with some reversed guitar parts and distant shuffling textures, shifting back into the crushing heaviness of the opening dirge after one weird beat breaks things up for a bit. As is often the case with these types of D.I.Y. projects I think that minor elements of the recording are the only setback keeping this outfit from being wholly impressive. I touched on that one issue earlier where the vocals jumped way up in volume and drowned out a lot of the music, and aside from little mixing hitches such as that, I'd say that a lot of the guitars (notably that opening riff) could use more of a natural warmth to their crunch, as sometimes the sheen associated with a direct line recording can start to creep in and disturb the overall intensity. Most of the vocals sound pretty damn good, though some of the singing would probably need a hint of smoothing over were it ever more prominent in the mix. The CD-R is packaged with a black and white cover that keeps things minimal in terms of both artwork and text. The lyrics aren't included but one can only assume they're blunt expressions of pain in one way or another. This one's limited to a mere 25 copies, and my guess is that they're all gone now, but you might get lucky if you do some digging. There's a lot of cool material within this rather epic track. I'm not completely floored yet, but I can say without a doubt that a slightly more developed and professionally executed take on this approach would absolutely and totally kill, so I'm really excited about what's going to come of this. A few of the moods touched on herein are fucking powerful as hell...

Running time - 20:55, Tracks: 1
[Notable tracks: there's only one]
Annihilvs -