[Review] Final Surrender – Nothing But Void
Final Surrender is an Indian band that started in 2010 and has come to be labeled as progressive metalcore. India is somewhat an unusual location for metalcore bands or bands associated with metal to come from. Although India is less obscure than my country of South Africa, it only has a slightly bigger metal scene than South Africa, which when comparing the two countries’ populations shows that metal in India is extremely niche. Even though the band is from the city Bangalore, I am sure that just like Johannesburg city poverty plays a role I am sure it is hard for a tiny scene to fund their bands and get somewhere. Now with this all in mind, let’s take a look at Nothing But Void.
The first thing I notice is the top notch production, these guys did it professionally. There is no problem in the mix, everything comes out, nothing over powers. Coming from a country that may be affected by poverty, knowing that many South African bands have awful production, I think that is awesome that they have some of the best production of any band on their record label – Rottweiler Records. Now the band has been labeled progressive metalcore, by themselves and fans alike; Whilst there is no argument that they are metalcore, I feel there could be some debate to the progressive side of things. The band certainly has some progressive elements with tempo changes, some off beats and lead guitar that captivates like most progressive bands and such, but I do feel they do things differently from most progressive metal bands though. For example they don’t use off beats as often as you’d expect and there are not really polyrhythmic parts in their songs. Then again being classified as regular metalcore just does not seem right either – so maybe the title of progressive metalcore works.
Let us now look at the music, examining first the rhythm section. The drums are highly produced, tastefully sampled and detailed. Metalcore tends to be a genre of bland and plain drumming, thankfully Jared Sandhy does more than play half time, he adds consistent details – even including actual blast beats at times. The bass guitar is hard to keep track of beneath the detailed guitar, it feels as though Judah Sandhy mostly just follows the bass drum and some of the guitar. I will admit, although the mix has been done really well, there could be more heard from the bass guitar.
Moving on to the guitars, it is clear that Kumar and Stephanes are proficient metalcore guitarists. However, the two guitarists mainly focus their efforts into the rhythm riffs rather than solos, there are lead guitar parts but generally do not show the guitarists full abilities in as much as the rhythm parts. The rhythm riffs have a solid amount of movement across the fret board, which as a guitarist listener keeps my attention.
Then on vocals is Joseph Samuel, his strengths are the harsh metalcore vocals that range between highs and mids. Samuel also does some clean vocals, they are in key and do fit in well – although the clean vocals tend to be layered throughout Nothing But Void. I do think there could be more vocal range but I can’t say Samuel has done a bad job. Now to the music, the structures of the songs are not the typically boring metalcore, they have a good amount of variation and tempo changes. Although as I have said before, there are not large amounts of off beat patterns and atypical progressive metalcore structures – Final Surrender still proves to be a detailed band musically.
I am normally someone who does not collect metalcore due to the monotony and the generic quality of the genre. However Final Surrender have managed to bring in a quality release that does not fall into the standard stereotypes. As a metalhead I have voluntarily listened to this album on repeat, which is certainly a good sign.
I would give this album 80 out of 100.