nullingroots – Take Care (Self-Released)Friday, 24th June 2016
In the land of post/atmospheric/blackgaze (whatever it’s being tagged as nowadays), if there’s one thing that seems to be expected is that the band will be big on the emotional heaviness, but not usually so much in the musical heaviness. The slant between black metal and depressive/melancholic shoegaze is one that may have lost some of its luster as bands like Deafheaven pushed further into success and dime-a-dozen clones arrived upon the scene. But thankfully there are bands like nullingroots to shake things up in regards to the usual formula.
Take Care does fit nicely into the aforementioned genre, and has all of the necessary bells and whistles to be successful. The softer parts feature some tender and emotive atmosphere (countered by some blackened screams of course) and offer a genuinely gorgeous terrain to insert some more intense blackened moments in. The blackened sections also fit the purpose, and even with the longer song-lengths (a staple for this type of thing), the sense of pacing is strong, along with the songwriting. All of this is well and good, but the most important thing that nullingroots does, which makes a huge impact, is get heavy. Check out “Please Respond” and “I’m So Proud of You” and you may be initially stunned how the band transitions from ethereal blackened material to some starkly visceral death metal injections, while “I Don’t Want This” has a nice piece of doom that starts things off. These come complete with some lower growls as well, and the result truly stands out. The added depth is noticeable, and allows the songs to be even more dynamic, as well as invigorating the music with a fresh, yet fully-integrated twist. It’s not that they are added for shock value, but are a seamless part of the music itself.
The injections of some death metal brutality into the blackgaze structure gives nullingroots some territory to call their own, and identifies them as a band worth seeking out. Take Care has the rich and ethereal qualities that make blackgaze interesting, but with some moments of heaviness that may pull in a slightly different crowd, particularly if they bring in more with their next album.