Incorporating elements of a progressive nature within a flurry of face-melting riffs is becoming more and more popular in the modern world of heavy metal. Meshuggah have arguably pioneered the way for a whole new world of scathing riffs, complex jazz-fusion rhythms and polished production values. They are, directly or indirectly, influencing countless new and emerging bands, all more than keen to show off their technical skills and tear fans of the more extreme side of progressive music a new one.
Possessing a sound that, whilst not wholly unoriginal, is already well represented in the metal world, Swiss quintet Promethee release their debut full length Nothing Happens, Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes with a statement of no-holds-barred intent.
Just like their peers, Promethee have no problems getting technical, with odd time signatures and head-banging riffs that would immediately induce a case of the world's worst nervous twitch. Songs like The Great Deception and Banner of Lies succeed in overloading the senses, if failing to inspire. The vocals remain devoid of any actual singing throughout this half hour slab of deathcore-by-numbers, but the guitar work is a statement of melodic intent that heightens the sensation of accessibility; a sensation that proves to be short-lived thanks to an album that fails to hold my attention for any prolonged period of time.
Despite its inherent flaws, Nothing Happens, Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes is an impressive first album. Thus Spoke stands out especially; almost six minutes of well-structured songwriting and memorable devastation. There are too many songs however (like its successor Sickness Unto Death) that contain as much of the drab and uninteresting as the captivating. Yet there are certain moments of brilliance that can be heard within the songs. When Promethee hold everything back, they shine as brightly as they do when unleashing all hell, proving that a whisper can be as powerful as the loudest roar; Oblivion greets with subtlety and launches into an explosion of emotion and progressive melody.
Repeated spins of the album reveals no other real highlights, yet everything feels solid and uncompromising, never sacrificing its all-encompassing riffs and punishing drum work. It is however, far too safe an album for a band who are trying to break through to bigger and better things. There's nothing necessarily wrong with keeping to a tried and true formula, but if that's your chosen path, you're going to have to work extra hard in order to stand out. In an ever popular genre such as this, more than half an hour of fairly forgettable songs will probably be required, no matter how well you can play your instruments.