Nothingface

Violence

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Whenever a trend is hot, you can be certain that numerous clone artists will jump on the bandwagon instead of having the guts to do their own thing. Rap-metal was extremely popular when the 21st century arrived and, not surprisingly, a glut of sound-alike bands tried to cash in by emulating Korn, Limp Bizkit, or Kid Rock. But, thankfully, Nothingface isn't one of them. The Washington, DC, residents steer clear of rap-metal on 2000's Violence, which finds Nothingface moving to TVT after recording for DCide and Mayhem in the late '90s. There is no rapping on this CD -- there are no guest appearances by Eminem, Old Dirty Bastard, Lil' Kim, or DMX, and Nothingface doesn't sample anyone's hip-hop beats. Instead, the combo strives for freshness and originality, providing a compelling blend of melody and brute force. Violence is hardly the first alternative metal release that manages to be melodic and blistering at the same time, but Nothingface does bring together a variety of influences in a fresh-sounding way. On dark, angry tracks like "Everlasting Godstopper" and "For All the Sin," Nothingface successfully combines Pantera's sledgehammer brutality with the melodic grunge (or post-grunge) of Nirvana, the Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush. One minute, lead vocalist Matt Holt is growling like a death metaller -- and the next minute, he is as accessible as Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Much to the band's credit, all of these contrasts seem perfectly logical on Violence, which is among the most memorable and interesting alternative metal releases of 2000.

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