Brazilian hardcore unit Nothing in Between features three former members of Children of Gaia and carries additional lineup ties to Deeper Than That, Hardly a Heartbeat, Metade de Mim, and One Minute Less. The quintet debuted with a three-song EP back in 2015, and reportedly spent four years working on their first full-length, which just hit the streets last week. Let me assure you: that was four years well-spent.
I can only hope that the wider scene at large will recognize this fact, but I'm telling you right now: this is one of the best hardcore releases of the year. Hands down. I haven't been this excited about a new hardcore album in a long, long time. My interest was piqued within seconds of the first track, and this sucker never really dips into a lull throughout its 10-song/32-minute run.
Stylistically, the material immediately brings to mind the finer points of the melodic and passionate hardcore of the mid-2000s—think Comeback Kid, Go it Alone, etc.—but should absolutely appeal to fans of contemporary acts such as Be Well and One Step Closer, too. Cooler still, I was somewhat surprised to discover little dashes of slightly more complex and metallic fare that nods to '90s gems of the Strongarm/Shai Hulud variety, which is always a plus!
Right off the bat with "Cold Blue Light," you can just feel a special level of quality here—melodic and energetic, with tempos that effortlessly shift between faster-paced and a slightly chunky middleground; fronted by vocals that are both forceful and emotional. "We Count the Days" takes that same framework into arguably even more explosive territory, solidifying that traditional hardcore influences are never utilized in a dull manner—such elements are always accented by octave chords, arpeggiated runs, dissonant textures, etc. Not to mention the subtly constant vocal variety, both in the gradation of intensity to the yelling, as well as scattered half-spoken passages and impeccable gang shouts.
"Dead Tree," again, just nails this general approach—like, "Holy shit, this album's not gonna slip is it!? It's just gonna tear through at this same peak of greatness top-to-bottom!" I suppose "Restrain the Weakness" and "Counting Fractions" offer a figurative "breather" just in terms of a slightly more moderate delivery that's not bursting at the seams with that faster-paced hardcore foundation, but that songwriting: still flawless!
And not without a few more surprises, either! "A Place to Bury Our Dreams," for example, stays in line at the start, but the chorus unexpectedly introduces full-on singing for a few lines, and it's absolutely awesome! An immediate standout for me—possibly my single favorite moment—and that's saying something, 'cause this is an album packed with high points. Eventually, everything wraps as strongly as it began through the surging urgency of both "One Thousand Years" and "Wasted Lives."
Great production, too. The panning not only leaves some room for the bass in the core of the mix, but also does a superb job of highlighting the fact that the guitars very rarely double each other, opting instead to constantly play off of one another with complementary runs. Love it.
Nothing in Between seems to be digital-only at the moment, which is probably well enough now in 2022, but... I would be beyond enthused were a label to step up and grant this material a tangible release that dedicated listeners could hold in-hand while perusing the artwork, lyrics, and so on. I mean, damn, if this thing was on a label like Revelation or Triple-B, people would be losing their minds over how great it is. And that deserves to happen regardless, so—yet again—I beg you: please spread the word if you enjoy this anywhere near as much as I do. It's important. I'm just blown away here...