NØ MAN Pack Ferociously Caustic Jams On Riveting New Screamo/ Hardcore LP

The D.C.-area group NØ MAN has returned with a perfectly crushing new album ERASE.

The group includes the members of the late 1990s/ early 2000s group Majority Rule alongside vocalist Maha Shami, who guested on a 2002 song from that band called “Package Poison.” The talents of all the folks involved in this project combine in a cohesively staggering tumult on ERASE — the eight songs pack a raging brew blending caustic blasts of hardcore ferocity with some off-kilter vibes à la classic-feeling screamo, which help give the record a real kick.

The songs feel like musically captured moments of real desperation, and the perspective (both musically and lyrically speaking) seems to focus on a personal vantage point of stormy chaos. In other words, rather than a potentially birds eye view perspective of themes like the album’s churning tension, the songs stand right in the emotional trenches. The dynamics swing like a roller coaster, and the album feels like it’s taking listeners on a ride through deep caverns of chaos in which the walls themselves might feel like they’re screaming — even if, physically speaking, nothing’s really there.

The always heavy and always propulsive songs feel psychologically immersive, and the consistency of the energy makes the journey feel like there’s at least a chance of finding some metaphorical light on the other side. That light doesn’t make much of an appearance on the record — the rhythms merely deliver an occasionally upbeat vibe — but the journey feels totally worth it. It’s exhilarating and captured via some awesomely precise musicianship.

ERASE captures listeners’ attention right from the very first song, “Dive,” which starts off with musical dynamite blasts. As the song approaches the two minute mark, NØ MAN dial back the music’s frenzied intensity, and a churning drum rhythm and a smattering of simmering riffing take the spotlight. After about a minute of the soulfully desperate-sounding segue, the song progresses back into physically intense territory. Huge waves of hoarse, breakdown-esque riffing close the song, delivering something like a feeling of getting washed ashore after floating around in metaphorical watery chaos during the track’s earlier parts.

The textures vary across ERASE – “Tune In” and the latter part of “Golden Son” feel particularly frenzied, while “Secret,” the latter parts of “Cut Out,” and other moments on the record lean towards searing menace. As mentioned — it’s exhilarating to listen to, and thanks to the all-around strikingly solid songwriting, there’s something that feels so essential about the album. It’s sincere, and “real” — it’s a ready-made soundtrack for tumbling through the chaos of life.

5/5 Stars

Check out the album below!