RSJ - Gain To Nothing
I'm not keen on noise; I'm not keen on grind; and I am certainly not keen on technical metal. Therefore, understandably, when I got the new album 'Gain To Nothing' by RSJ I got a certain jolt of dread when I saw such phrases as "groove-laden noise metal" in their press release. It was quite a surprise then that I found passages of this album not only passable, but also enjoyable. Whilst RSJ don't have anything that truly sets themselves apart from their competitors in the genre, this album was still entertaining enough.
The best way to describe RSJ's sound is a pinch of Meshuggah, a bit of Hardcore and a healthy dose of generic technical metal widdlings. There's nothing particularly new or original in RSJ's sound, but that doesn't matter a huge amount, as they are competent enough at what they do that it becomes possible to overlook that. Rather than taking a more contemplative route which it is possible to attempt in this genre, the order of the day in RSJ's sound is wall-to-wall aggression and energy and whilst it can be a bit unrelenting, if it's what you like then you'll be more than happy with 'Gain To Nothing'
The album also comes with a selection of live recordings and remixes. The live songs including 'Dystonia' and 'A Theme For Murder' are nothing special in and of themselves, the performances not being excessively well performed or captured, but I suppose they will make a nice treat for the fans of RSJ. It's hard to assess the quality of the remixes on offer, having not heard the originals to compare them to. However, after a blind listen as I've had they also don't really excite or interest me very much, sure, it's good to hear fresh talent from outside bands play around with their sound, but at the end of the day the results just aren't that enthralling.
Overall 'Gain To Nothing' is neither here nor there. For fans of a more technical metal there are a few passages and songs with some interesting touches, to those who don't care for technical ideals the album can be a bit hundrum. RSJ certainly have the talent, the songwriting and the balls to become a band worth watching, but 'Gain To Nothing' only hints at this and doesn't show us the band RSJ are capable of becoming. This release is one for genre fans and speculators, but probably not for the casual listener.