Death Metal

Nothingness – Supraliminal (Review)

Bands: Nothingness
Release: Supraliminal
Genre: Death Metal
Country: USA (Minneapolis)
Release Date:20th of January, 2023
Released viaEverlasting Spew Records
Cover ArtworkVulture / Mark Voortallen

There’s only disappointment arriving from Minnesota! You don’t believe me? Well, then just take a look at recent Football history. After eventually cutting off Mike Zimmer from the Vikings, paving way for another head coach who might be aware that readjusting the playbook according to the fact that Adrian Peterson has now been gone for years was kind of overdue. With O’Connell entering the team for the 2022/23 season, it seemed as if everything had changed. Kicking into the season with a massive 8-1 until hitting the first major loss against Dallas was huge. Finishing the regular season at 13-4 including that savage OT win against Indianapolis was even better! Finally entering the post season again as Vikings fan in an upright position felt amazing. And then – losing in the Wild Card round against the motherfucking New York Giants are you fucking kidding me. As I said – there is only disappointment arriving from Minnesota! But is it really?

Right at the spot when the Minnesota Vikings caused a mental breakdown, another team hailing from Minneapolis took over in order to decently serve with proper execution. We’re talking about Death Metal quartet Nothingness, returning with their sophomore full-length Supraliminal. After having stirred up the Death Metal community in 2019 already with their self-released full-length debut The Hollow Gaze of Death, those guys from the land of the north found shelter at one of the most thriving European Death Metal labels Everlasting Spew Records. Expectations were high with the incredibly staggering yet still technically brutal full-length debut, but with their sophomore full-length Supraliminal, Nothingness showcased that they are highly capable to find their spot in the ranks of high quality Death Metal.

Since especially Doom and Sludge elements on The Hollow Gaze of Death marked major elements that constituted the sound of the band, it were of course these aspects I highly anticipated on their follow-up. To cut this short, expectations were answered with this landmark of an album. Nothingness proved that they are able to resort to their former sound yet they also managed to remarkably progress towards a broader scope. On the opener “Curse of Creation,” the sound is already made up from various different styles the band easily manages to interconnect. While the former release predominantly focused on the Doom and Sludgy spheres, the first track on Supraliminal already carries elements of classy Death Metal, riff-driven Thrash Death, Doom Death, Blackened Death and even sequences of almost clear-cut Black Metal. Fucking decide what you wanna play, you might say. But especially this in-between-genres is what makes up the most interesting factor about this band.

If you were one of those people who always blatter about the lack of differences between Blackened Death Metal, Death Metal and Black Metal, you surely have found your master on Supraliminal. With overwhelming lightness, Nothingness jump back and forth between these genres, merely switching the pattern of the drums thus presenting you a jump from Blackened Death Metal towards Death Metal in a jiff. The overarching heaviness that was present on the predecessor is still overshadowing the sophomore release as well. Especially those sequences that can already be found mid-track on the opener “Curse of Creation” show that the affinity to Death Doom will remain obvious. On the third track “Catapulted into Hyperspace,” though, we open up with Blackened Death sound, crushing into chunky and groovy Death Metal and then return to Blackened Death.

Even within the spheres of Death Metal, different approaches are mixed, offering both cavernous approaches as well as thrashy riff-oriented styles. It pretty much feels as if you threw Incantation, Of Feather and Bone and Cannibal Corpse into a mixer in order to arrive at the sound that is presented on Supraliminal. And even if you did, you’d probably not end up with the sound you get on this album. This is what makes up the finesse of the sound of Nothingness, pretty much all aspects can be associated with a band in an isolated consideration. When putting the pieces together, though, we get a sound that is almost impossible to link to a specific band.

By far the best track on the entire album, however, faces you when reaching the end of the album. With “Beacon of Loss” you get a track that is going to get stuck in your head for months. Opening up with an intro that might be the opener for a gritty Grunge track as well, we are taught what can easily be turned into a Death Metal tone when adding appropriate elements. What an amazing track from front to back, adding once more new elements with double-lead guitars, a slower pace and an overall epic framework. This is the well-fitting culmination for an intensely strong album.

What eventually completes the strong synergy on this release is the amazing production as well as the convincing artwork. A huge amount of pressure on this release arrives due to a strong production. Specifically in those riff sequences that often slightly remind of Cannibal Corpse, especially the manner of the production increases the reminiscence of the latter. The crushing heaviness in all the different sequences is crucially underlined by the strain of the production by courtesy of Adam Tucker. Without that, the release would probably be a little less intimidating. Apart from that, I already highly fancied the artwork on Nothingness’ previous release, but they again made the right choice with this amazing piece of art by Vulture (Mark Voortallen) that rounds everything off. When trying to sell this record, you’d probably call this a “full package.” I already had Nothingness on my scope with their full-length debut that was incredibly strong, but Supraliminal surely superseded the expectations constructed by the former. If you are still looking for possibilities how to progress with Death Metal while not already drifting off towards the Progressive Death spheres (no offense – just stating) it is pretty much obligatory in 2023 to stick to this album. If you don’t, you’ll surely regret it with the release of their third album the latest.

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