Joy - “Of Nothing”
Buy on Bandcamp, or through Blood and Ink Records
Joy have been making a name for themselves in the past year. After releasing a two song EP in May of 2015, they’ve played with such acts as Shai Hulud, Full Of Hell, and Fit For An Autopsy. The EP also garnered widespread attention when Alternative Press wrote an article titled “12 hardcore songs any metalcore fan will like” featuring “Switchblade Teeth.” While the self-titled EP is a perfect example of less-is-more with a runtime under six minutes, it still left listeners foaming at the mouth for more. When the band announced that they had signed with Blood and Ink Records accompanied by news of a new EP, I was ecstatic. The song they released that day, “Hope Less,” promised more of the same. Jump ahead three months: I now have had the CD for less than twenty-four hours and have listened to it about seven or eight times, and I can’t even count how many listens came from the early stream of the EP.
Of Nothing’s opener “Tear Me Down” starts with screeching feedback immediately broken by vocalist Andrew Langhan’s disgusting purge of emotion. The band follows in with brooding guitar riffs and drums that beckon listeners to come in close and experience the EP at full force. From that point onward are only breakneck passages. Whether it’s the fury of the instruments that never get lost in each other or the too-relatable lyrics, it gets under the skin. “I don't see where I'm going, I only know where I've been.” The EP is comparable to Yüth Forever in that way. Joy’s “I try to be the bigger man, but the hate still towers over me” and more will be sitting beside lyrics like “Always been second best / a step below, nothing special / I'm chronically obsessed with / fucking up,” or even Cult Leader’s “We are the children force-fed submission / born to chase heaven with reckless abandon,” as some of the hardest-hitting lyrics in the genre.
When the band brings down the pace, we either get gnarly breakdowns or this groove that never fails to hook you. An example of the latter would the second half of “Lose Myself,” which while admittedly basic, never feels that way in the midst of chaos. The vocals also help, delivering lyrics like “Dig a hole and throw me away, ’cause when I’m gone you won’t even know my name,” keeping you grounded in the moment. On “Cut To The Nerve,” we have a really interesting segment that could have made the end of this EP fall flat on its face, introducing slow and soft spoken word into this mayhem. Instead, it's one of the EP’s standout moments. It serves as a different prelude to a hardcore climax that stays brooding, almost conveying agony. The slow bassline and reverbed vocals kept behind the mix puts you into a trance. The build-out with the squealing guitars brings you out enough just in time for one last throwdown: “Cut me down right to the nerve.”
Of Nothing is nothing short of a tour-de-force in pent-up aggression. I honestly believe Joy does more in these ten minutes than most hardcore acts do in thirty or forty. This is gold.
- Alex B.