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Black Note Graffiti

Volume II: Without Nothing I'm You

Review by Gary Hill

There is a lot of nu-metal in the mix on this album. It has plenty of alternative rock and more, too. There is enough variety here to keep it interesting, but some of the songs early are a bit samey. That could be easily fixed by just moving a few of them to later slots on the disc. Still, even as it's tracked here, it works well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
No Love Lost

I love the meaty guitar sounds on this. The whole piece is based around solid riffing. It has a classy modern metallic pop rock sound. This is really classy stuff. I love some of the over-layers of sound a lot.

Such Is Art
The sound that starts this is very much a heavy metal texture. I'd consider this to be a great example of alternative rock merging with modern metal. There are some hints of things like King's X. The dropped back piano based movement is intriguing.
Castles
Screaming hot, this covers much of the same territory as the previous cut. That said, it's nothing close to a copy of that piece. This is catchy and meaty at the same time.
False Start

There is no big change here. This is a bit more on the aggressive side, though. The formula is starting to wear a bit thin by this point, though. I do love the screaming (literally) energy to this piece, though.

Bars From The Cages

This does provide some well-needed variety. It has a good balance between more melodic alternative rock and the aggressive, powerhouse stuff. I like the melodic nature of this cut a lot. There are things here that even hint at jazz just a bit. All in all, this is one of the standouts here.

Shadows

Speaking of variety, this has a lot of that commodity. It's based around mellower music with a prominent percussive element serving as the backdrop for the vocals. At least that's true of the opening movement. It gets into more guitar driven hard rocking stuff after that.

Why We Trust

More straightforward alternative rock, while this still represents some variety, it's not as much as the last couple tracks. That doesn't matter, though, as this works really well.

Relapse

Coming in mellower and more psychedelic, the beginning of this is intriguing and a bit of variety. It pounds in as the relapse sets into being. It's a hard rocking stomper that's among the strongest of the set.

Natural
Techno meets alternative rock and more on this killer stomper. It has some catchy stuff built into it.
Wicked Ways
There is a good balance between the mellower and powered up on this dramatic piece of music. The cut has a lot of magic in the mix and is one of the highlights of the set.
Send Off

This cut definitely earns a parental advisory. For some reason this makes me think of The Deftones a bit. The balance between subtler and more screaming sounds is great.

 
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