Album Review: Nothing – Guilty Of Everything

One of the most arresting, pounding, and quite beautiful 40 minutes you could spend would be with Nothing’s Guilty Of Everything. Imagine this vast black space and you’re staring down into it. It’s scary as hell, and you see no discernible bottom in this cavernous hole. Yet there’s something quite beautiful emanating from it that draws you nearer. It’s the beautiful drone that envelopes you and beckons you closer and closer to the edge till you realize you’re in the darkness. It surrounds you, blankets you, and holds you within the black. And you don’t mind. That is the magic of Guilty Of Everything. Musically it pummels you and pushes you into the wall till your bruised and battered, yet lead Nothing Dominic Palermo sings in a pushed whisper. It’s as if the music forces the air out of his lungs, allowing him to reveal his deep, dark secrets. Those secrets? A rough start of things, violence, incarceration, and then eventually some serious soul searching which led to Palermo making music as Nothing. Guilty Of Everything is their debut full-length and shows a band in top form and with many more stories to tell.

“Hymn To The Pillory” makes me think of gray clouds, drooping pines, and muddy landscapes with crumbling city streets in the far distance. The negative to a Pennsylvania snapshot. It could be the Pacific Northwest or southern Ohio for that matter but since Nothing hail from Philly then Pennsylvania fits just fine. This song encapsulates years of hopes and dreams dirtied and tattered. The music is heavy shoegaze. It’s like Whirr cranked to 11. Then “Dig” charges in sounding like Deafheaven fronted by Elliot Smith. It’s an absolutely stunning track. Guitars bounce off reverbed walls as Palermo sings, well, I’m not sure what he’s singing. But it’s not really what he’s saying more than how he’s saying it. And how he says it makes me think he really means it. “Endlessly” evokes a feeling vastness as  Palermo’s voice feels as if it surrounds you and engulfs you. That blackness; that void. It’s always there so you learn to live with it. Cope with it.

The album is mixed with moments of propulsion and slow burn. One minute you’re crawling on your hands and knees through broken glass and debris towards some mysterious light; the next minute you’re being pushed towards the light by some unknown force. You can’t help but think that songs like “Somersault”, “Get Well”, and “B&E” are direct connections to Palermo’s past. Aural snapshots of dark times he’s now trying to make sense of and heal from. Last track “Guilty Of Everything” seems to be an open letter to the universe written in blood-red ink. A plea for some kind of peace. Or to at least be able to get through another day.

Listening to Guilty Of Everything, despite the despair in so many of the songs you get the feeling that these are snapshots of a past life. Dominic Palermo seems to have made some kind of peace with his demons and is sharing his journey and what he’s learned through these intense, swirling kaleidoscopes of songs. Nothing’s Guilty Of Everything is intense, heavy, hazy, and filled with dark beauty.

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