Review: Down To Nothing – Life On The James


13 years of straight edge hardcore from Down To Nothing has served them well, making a name for themselves. It’s safe to say that Down To Nothing has put Richmond on the map in terms of hardcore music. In their existence they’ve released four albums, three splits, a compilation and a demo. And now it’s time for their fifth album called Life On The James. The fact that this record is released on Revelation Records (just like their 2007 record The Most) makes me thrilled. Revelation Records is my favorite hardcore record label and no decent hardcore fan could ever deny the great releases that Revelation has done over the years.

First song ‘When I Rest I Rust’ is solid. You can immediately hear that they’ve grown since All My Sons. Of course this is to be expected after three years. They also changed the way the record is mixed. It sounds less heavy but has a more balanced sound to it. ‘Dirty South’ is massive; chunky riffs and solid drums provide the foundation to get the 2-step going. In terms of sound this band is the perfect mix between Bane, No Warning and a dash of youth crew. But the fact that members from DTN are also in Terror and Trapped Under Ice are becoming more noticeable. ‘Life On The James’ gives you a Cruel Hand type of track with melodic cleans and catchy riffing. The whole song is more melody oriented and has a certain punk vibe to it. The track keeps it fresh and will do great live with sing-a-longs and stage dives. ‘Sheffield’ is another heavy song that has a more metal oriented sound. This becomes clear with the shredding solo at the beginning. The heaviness is supplemented by melody, to give it a certain balance. ‘No Leash’ is uncompromising hardcore that Down To Nothing knows so well. However, it sounds too close to a Terror track which is a shame in my opinion.

‘3:24’ is a song about straight edge. It’s fast, heavy and short. ‘Brothers Turned Strangers’ is the sort of track Down To Nothing is best at. It’s lyrically probably the strongest and most impressive song on the album. Lyrics like “You say we grew apart, I say you threw it away” and “you’re like a two-headed snake, one tells lies and the other has fangs” are brought with so much power, which makes it outstanding. ‘Island Time’ brings a certain groove that hasn’t been introduced on this record yet. It’s very refreshing and enjoyable. ‘Cardinal’ focusses more on a youth crew approach with a certain melody/groove. It sounds very 90’s. ‘Soak It Up’ is a wall of sound with it’s slow and heavy approach. The solo is a nice addition. ‘Fish Ain’t Bitin” is fast overall but takes time to slow down here and there so the lyrics get more room to surface. ‘Draw 4’ is the last track of this record and is a typical DTN song. Heavy but catchy riffs. A solid ending.

Down To Nothing has delivered once again. They’ve clearly put a lot of effort in to this new record and I prefer this one over their last release All My Sons. The growth they made is immense. However, the sounds is growing closer to those of Terror and Trapped Under Ice which I think is a shame. It’s a solid jam and a great addition to any hardcore collection. So go check it out if you haven’t already! For fans of: Bane, No Warning, Terror, Trapped Under Ice, Cruel Hand, Backtrack, Naysayer.

Track list – Life on the James:

1.  When I Rust I Rust
2.  Dirty South
3.  Life On The James
4.  Sheffield
5.  No Leash
6.  3:24
7.  Brothers Turned Strangers
8.  Island Time
9.  Cardinal
10.  Soak It Up
11.  Fish Ain’t Bitin’
12.  Draw 4

Down To Nothing: Facebook

Written by Nigel 

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