No Sin Evades His Gaze
12th May 2017 – Record Union
01. Endless Disconnect
02. Heavy Days
04. You Can’t Save Me
05. Doomsday Generation
06. If Only To Fall
07. Without Condemnation
08. I Decide
09. Feels A Lot Like Hell
10. Wish Away
When we first encountered No Sin Evades His Gaze, just prior to the release of their 2014 debut Age Of Sedation, they were so fresh that they still had that ‘new band smell’. Arriving practically fully formed and shaking off the last of the polystyrene packing chips and little sachets of silica gel playing their debut shows over that summer’s festival season, the band quickly made themselves at home in the UK tech scene.
Over the intervening three years, No Sin Evades His Gaze have slimmed down from a five- to a four-piece and hit the roads of the UK (and occasionally further afield) hard. 2017 finds them to be leaner, meaner and a more cohesive and finely tuned unit. Standalone single “Preacher“, dropping in 2015, signaled the way the wind was blowing. Age Of Sedation could have been a launching point for the band in various directions, and they have focussed on wedding sleek, muscular grooves to anthemic choruses.
So Endless Disconnect delivers a neat and tidy package of ten shiny, iron-jacketed modern metal stompers with traditional – but thoughtful – song structures. These songs sit on the sonic spectrum somewhere between Lamb of God, Heart of a Coward and Monuments (albeit with less funk), with an unashamedly radio-friendly twist and topped off with lush and rich orchestral accompaniments.
The title track leads the charge into Endless Disconnect, kicking off proceedings with a dramatic, cinematic introduction worthy of the much-missed Xerath before plunging into the meat of the song, where the strings serve as a neat counterpoint to the staccato riffs.
Endless Disconnect‘s signature sound is clearly found in the marriage of guitarist Dan Thornton’s spidery lead lines with taut and sinuous riffing. There’s a sense of skittish, nervous energy in those riffs that is especially apparent in tracks like “Human” and “If Only To Fall“. There are plenty of little technical flourishes in the songs, but never at the expense of overall groove. Every now and then, Dan is allowed to really let fly with a shreddy solo, but those moments are picked carefully enough for them to not feel gratuitous.
Vocalist James Denton has also become a commanding frontman, equally comfortable bellowing his lungs out as he is crooning memorable chorus hooks. Drummer Theo Harvey also throws the occasional vocal line into the mix for added variety. Thematically, just a quick glance at song titles like “Heavy Days” and “Doomsday Generation” suggests an all-pervading sense of gloom and foreboding.
But although the subject matter may be downbeat, Endless Disconnect is far from introspective. More than anything these songs feel like they have been written for the stage, full of satisfying divebombs, extra meaty breakdowns and tsunami sized waves of chug. There are a couple of surprising little diversions from the basic template, like a noticeable Linkin Park vibe to the verses of “Feels A Lot Like Hell“.
The individual songs flow together well and tread broadly similar ground without feeling samey. There are no extended prog workouts, interludes or other distractions to get in the way of the riffing. Only album closer “Wish Away” feels like it relies a little too heavily on cliche and is subsequently the weakest track of the collection. Perhaps the single biggest disappointment of Endless Disconnect is that Moat Lowe’s basslines are often buried too deeply in the mix to hear without making a concerted effort.
No Sin Evades His Gaze are a band who, through the nature of their inception, did a lot of their growing up in public and Endless Disconnect is very clearly the sound of them coming of age. Whilst it doesn’t really challenge any preconceptions or push any boundaries, it delivers an incredibly strong collection of memorable and accessible songs that will easily translate into riotous setlists. Perhaps also providing further evidence that within the UK’s progressive metal circles, the pendulum is swinging away from headspinning technical acrobatics and towards more straightforward grooves, but that just means its better for headbanging than it is for beard stroking – and if it produces songs of this quality, who would complain? Great stuff.