Released on 20 April 2023.
For fans of Iwrestledabearonce, Design the Skyline, Dr Acula.
Lights Over Nevada (2023) is the self-titled debut album from Syracuse, NY metalcore / cybergrind duo Lights Over Nevada. A little fun fact to get us started: according to Google Maps, Syracuse, NY is 2,600 miles from Carson City, the capital of Nevada.
The press release describes this album as “an impressive offering brimming with electronic and cyber-grind infused metalcore bangers” comparing the traditional growling metalcore vocals to Tyler Guida (ex Dr Acula) or Frankie Palmeri (Emmure) while the electronic sections provide atmospherics and layered textures.
The album opens with “Collect call” (track 1), a simple and subtle melody behind a rambling monologue that sounds like it was recorded on a telephone. When the metal breakdowns kick in, they kick in fast and hard.
“True colors” (track 2) opens with a bubble of electronic buzzes before a driving, almost industrial riff blasts the song in every direction. The pulsing, electronic bass that makes a brief appearance midway through adds new textures … more of that would certainly have been welcome, it’s a shame that it makes such a short visit.
“Just like the movies” (track 3) — I’m not entirely sure who Brian Matlock is but he gets more of a name-check than the two full-time band members. This is an unsettling, churning and dark track that leads into a similarly dark and atmospheric “The real stimulus is the friends you made along the way” (track 4) which rattles along in a general death metal trajectory before being derailed by a nasty slab of electronica that rises like Godzilla from a sewer.
“Vibe check” (track 5) leads us deeper into the dark underground and an unexpected rap vocal that later gets eaten by a spiting gruff vocal.
The experimentation continues with the short “Suffocate” (track 6) which ticks along a simple drum machine rhythm while an ugly fusion of electronics and vocals commits some kind of nasty audio murder in the background. It’s effective stuff. The same vibe leaks into “getOffMyBlockchain;” (track 7) which is more of a metal romp but which is broken up with spoken error messages
“Don’t dream and drive” (track 8) initially features a brighter and more hopeful electronic vibe, but it’s soon overtaken by an oppressively dark metal riff and half-shouted vocals. “The temple” (track 9) again features Brian Matlock and again opens with a deceptively light and orchestral introduction that is soon swallowed by blast beats, wild keyboards and distortion.
There are definitely some fine moments in this release, but at times it feels like looking for part of your favourite image in a box of 1000 jigsaw pieces. On the whole, I love releases like this when the artists fuse two or more genres together. I love the creativity, pushing boundaries, exploring possibilities. The result is not always something that I would want to listen to every day, but it definitely makes the world and more interesting place, and offers an artform that challenges how we look at the world and ourselves. The term ‘cybergrind’, which I have never heard of before, certainly seems to sum up this album.
Review score: 65%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Lights Over Nevada’s debut album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Lights Over Nevada. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Lights Over Nevada for continuing to create fresh new music.