Monday, March 9, 2020

Full Length Review: Today Is The Day “No Good to Anyone” (BMG/The End Records) by Dave Wolff

Location: Orland, Maine
Country: USA
Genre: Noise rock, avant-garde metal
Full Length: No Good to Anyone
Format: Digipack CD, vinyl album
Label: BMG/The End Records
Release date: February 29, 2020
Cover art by Jef Whitehead
Since Steve Austin founded Today Is The Day in 1992, he has shattered every rule applicable to underground metal. Over thirty years, eleven albums and many lineup changes, his project has grown from obscurity to a distinctive voice in extreme music, as he has created a synthesis of avant-garde metal, grindcore, noise, alternative, post-hardcore, and psychedelia, flavored with dissonance, presented with developmental production methods. Granted it’s from where psychosis, derangement, and lunacy thrive, but this disconsolate world where people have fallen or been pushed is unveiled via skill and imagination, exhibited as an art form all its own.
As I write this I suddenly recall a lyric from Emperor’s “Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times”: “What kind of beings are existing at the deeps of my lakes? They surely must be of an evil race, for no friendly thing can live in such depressive waters.” While writing the lyrics, they must have had a glimpse of where Austin was during a six-year period, in a state perhaps best described as “hell on earth,” where only darkness exists and any light that enters is promptly swallowed. Writing was extremely difficult, but music ultimately helped him crawl out, exorcise those demons and lay bare what he experienced in those days of solitude and utter despondency.
If a movie was based on these experiences endured by Austin and many others, it wouldn’t find an audience next to movies full of the blurring computer effects and light-heartedness most people pay to see. There’s little inspirational about this tale, just a sensation of meeting the devil face to face and living to tell of it. “No Good to Anyone” is replete with drastic changes in atmosphere and mood; the feelings of schizophrenia and despair are all that remain constant. At times it’s reflective, at times menacing, at times empty, at times mournful, at times purely insane and reeking of crushing hopelessness. “Not for the faint of heart” really does apply here.
The range in sounds on “No Good to Anyone” is perhaps the most versatile of all the band’s releases. It goes from primal to somber and introspective to mysterious to hypnotic to abrasive to manic. This is what holds your rapt attention all the way through, as you’re unaware where this journey will take you. With songwriting as unorthodox as dissident and heretical as the method by which it was recorded reiterates why Today Is The Day is considered one of metal’s most influential and groundbreaking bands.
With so many emotions emanating from the darker side of human nature, “No Good to Anyone” might be misinterpreted as an exercise in dwelling on traumatic experiences, purposeful stagnation or the “stay pissed off” mindset. “With the way the world is right now,” said Austin, “the first obvious choice was to make most hateful, crazy album possible: 100% full-throttle hate, violence, madness up the ass.” But when all is said and done, he maintains it personifies the struggle between accepting defeat and finding reasons not to. The album personifies mistrust and abhorrence of society’s judgment of one’s private conflict. But this stems from our pursuit of truth, and its true message is to find love within or without or both, no matter how subtly the point is made. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. No Good To Anyone
2. Attacked By An Angel
3. Of Man
4. Burn In Hell
5. You’re All Gonna Die
6. Orland
7. Cocobolo
8. Agate
9. Callie
10. OJ Kush
11. Mercy
12. Born In Blood
13. Mexico
14. Rockets And Dreams

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