Sometimes it pays to be cynical. It can be a necessary shield between your delicate internal self and the rigors of a cold and cruel world. However, it can on occasion create an unhelpful barrier between your instinctive soul and true enjoyment.
I know that when a band has made me think these thoughts whilst writing a review, that I have approached the writing task with preconceptions, be they good or ill, and they have by virtue of their quality (or lack of it) successfully challenged them.
I found myself in this very position while engaging with the debut album of extensively named British outfit No Sin Evades His Gaze. However the catchiness of the music and distilled astuteness of the musical choices on display made me reign in my own ego and regard this album with distinct and growing positivity.
What they have produced is a cunning (or serendipitous) melding of Groovy Tech metal with elements which make up the bulk of the metallic mainstream. It is filled to the brim with catchy songs, each nodding to a slightly difference influence without becoming a parody of the genre or band in question.
Very much groove-riff driven and bolstered by a highly textured guitar tone, it does sacrifice some of the potential for heaviness by committing to this ethos, but what it loses in crunch it more than makes up for in memorable choruses. The prevailing sensation it left with as I listened was that if Monuments played a set of Devildriver covers, this is how it would sound.
The drums employ at their core the rhythmic rigidity that is the essence of Tech metal but allow themselves freedom to slide back and forth across the beat. Freedom enough to allow those who find the digital approach of T.M drummers too stiff, to let their hair down and rock out to these rhythms.
The occasional blasts were also a welcome and enjoyable intrusion. I mention this because one of my only rhythmic criticisms would be that the record has fairly limited range of tempo. However this is a quality which has failed to inhibit the careers of many amazing artists, so I doubt it will impede the path to fame which NSEHG are currently constructing.
From a vocal point of view, James Dentons performance is perfectly pitched. His rough style, raspy enough to sound harsh and uncompromising yet remain fully intelligible. Structurally, his musicality is also prescient and polished; doing precisely what is required by the moderately basic arrangements, which in turn allows them to soar.
He also has a very enjoyable clean string to his vocal bow which he employs sparingly. It is the kind of voice that a band might rely on to be their standout element; however NSEHG are a very focused and unified collective. Being more than the sum of their parts, regardless of how talented each part actually is. This to me is a sign of an ideal equilibrium at play within a group; where everyone is pulling in the same direction, allowing that band to maximise their potential, firstly to win fans and admirers and secondly to make curmudgeonly old music journalists disregard their own cynicism and listen with an open mind and unfettered ears.
NSEHG are a group of dedicated, enthusiastic, impassioned, young men; who can be justly proud of what they have created here. Which, regardless of my vacillating scepticism, is full of moments I genuinely loved; Exciting riffs, clever, supple drumming; topped off with versatile and engaging vocals.
It is not exactly what I would naturally listen to but it held my attention throughout with its insistent combination of youthful vigour and melodic strength.
Success in the creative arts today is all about harnessing momentum; sling-shotting yourself around the Sun of opportunity towards a firmament full of the stardust of success. In this regard, NSEHG feel very much in control of their craft; guiding it, cynically or not, towards the sky of achievement.
– John Whitmore