Nothingness – Supraliminal

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Everlasting Spew Records is one of the underground labels that I trust when it comes to death metal. Although I had little knowledge about the Minneapolis-based death metal five-piece, Nothingness had recently released their sophomore 'Supraliminal' on January 20th, 2023. The band was formed in 2018 by guitarist Alex Walstad (Aberration) and vocalist Barclay Olson (ex-The Following) and released their debut album 'The Hollow Game of Death' in 2019. There have been some lineup changes in the past three years with Jon Grandel (guitars), Xen Hartzell (bass) and Erik Christianson (drums) joining the fold.

The sophomore exudes a grimy blend of sludge guitars, pulverizing drums with the guitars lending even the most dissonance riffs manifesting the complexity of the composition. Comprised of nine solid tracks, most of the album follows a range of punishing drums and heavy blasting guitars. The opening track Curse of Creation’ opens with a subversive guitar tone with ear-splitting riffs and heavy chugging to a few breakdowns. The bass guitar of Xen Hartzell provides a rather dense wall of sound on ‘Horrendous Incantation’ transmogrifying into pummeling drum beats.

Supraliminal’ features impressive dynamics and this somehow makes the song a grimy mixture between dissonant death metal and sludge metal. The guitar department causes sonic booms every time a pummeling drum discharge heavy blast beats. ‘Catapulted into Hyperspace’ is a monstrous juggernaut of death metal brutality that twists into patterns of dissonance. You can literally hear some strong influence from the band Ulcerate.

Nothingness established a unique sonic trademark showing the technical side of the band. Being the most powerful element, the bass guitar is firmly layered with the other instruments like the drums. The song structure actually deviates from the norm of death metal and adds a characteristic sound, while the drums bludgeon between the sludge dual guitar riffs. From its opening notes Nothingness divulges an extreme amalgamation. Even though there are some slow movements in the tempos, the crushing drums become more oppressive and dynamic. Tracks like ‘Temple of Broken Souls’ is my personal favorite track in the album: it immediately moves towards ponderous death metal brutality, then abruptly shifts into black metal territory.

The guitar blasts ultra-heavy and semi-technically with rhythmic patterns having an eerie coherence. After the continuous double bass kick, we rather experience the interaction between the rhythm guitar passage and the melodies. The dark riffing on ‘Festering Abstraction’ creates a bizarre atmosphere and then ventures into a chaotic burst of low bass and jackhammer riffs. Nothingness has shifted its focus to keep the listener in suspense. The riffing in general showcases the unique blend of technical skill infusing various elements into the song-craft. ‘Inviolate Viscera’ somewhat feels a bit experimental. The guitars work on all levels with some hints of jazz. ‘Supraliminal’ is a richly textured album: the songs are particularly memorable for the unique guitar work and ‘Beacon of Loss’ is just an example of what this quintet is capable of.

There are loads of fresh riffs and sonic intellect, twisted and cohesively executed, Nothingness displays a shrewd sense of melody, tempo and song arrangements which allows the listener to dive deep into the song layers to conceive how the music is put together. ‘The Anvil’ begins with pummeling drums where the guitars take the modern standard of death metal with their brutality and abrasive riffing. The bass guitar tone is loud and prominent in the mix. There is no question about the drums sounding oppressive with tons of mid-paced grooves injected into the songs.

Supraliminal’ isn’t really about utter brutality and aggression: even though all these characteristics are embedded into the songs, there is a different level that basically focuses more on the experimentation and how every riff flows perfectly together. Despite the ugliness and brutal standpoints, the songs are filled with unconventional qualities that might be odd to some death metal fans. Overall this is a step up from the debut album. Nothingness has a closer sound to modern acts like Gojira and Gorguts. The final track ‘Decimation Mechanism’ pulls plenty of influences from Morbid Angel. The track also features some excellent riffing. The vocal delivery is rooted to bring the demons out of hell and the riffing maintains a sinister and brutal nature of death metal, eschewing the complexity.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 7/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 8/10

The Minneapolis-based death metal five-piece expands on its formula by finding the right complex component without sacrificing the intensity of the music. The sophomore is recommended for fans of Gojira, Gorguts and Malignant Altar.

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