I was duped again.
The cover art on Nural's The Weight of the World screams metal; be that the epic or the cheesy variety, it could go either way. But no, this release has nothing whatsoever to do with either Buried Inside or Avenged Sevenfold, though the band's musical chops don't propel them that far above the latter. No, this is in effect the newest pop-rock singing to the fittingly named Hopeless Records.
Had this been a Jeff Ott or Dillinger Four album, I may have been excited at this point, but I'm afraid Hopeless has not impressed with this album either.
How many times have you heard "it's not bad, but it's not good either?" Well, that cliché phrase definitely applies here. Singer Kyle Castellani impresses mightily with his voice, displaying a range and strength beyond his years. His lyrical content is decidedly of Christian affiliation ("Lord what have I done? My reach obtaining only that which could end me") but not overbearingly so. Song titles like "Forgive Me" and "The Root of All Evil" surely hint at that lyrical direction, but when you get right down to it, it's refreshing to see the band not shoving their beliefs down anyone's throat. I just wish they'd do something drastic though, something to make even one line or one chord etch itself in your memory past the initial listen. Nural plays around with some varying tempos and rhythms, but it's simply not enough. Songs like "Not Guilty" though, keep the album from being completely mundane.
This is where those solid rhythms come into play. Castellani carries the song's weight until about halfway through, when guitarists Charley Hoy and Ryan Davis really let loose with some great riffing that had previously been absent to the record. A welcome change, but all too infrequent of an occurrence. Their strikingly fluid chord progressions need to be the foundation here, and not an afterthought. The rest of the songs show them in a competent but seemingly reserved light, one that surely does not benefit the sound or diversity the album could have.
There are plenty of tender moments here to be found as well, for those who enjoy the more low-key side of things. "Forgive Me" adds some piano and strings to the mix while Castellani's gorgeous vocals take the helm. The essentially forgettable "How Do You Sleep at Night" closes the album in a less than stellar fashion, as some of that great guitar work returns, but in a role that's far less noticeable against the other layers of the song.
For me, the general theme of the album is "missed opportunity." A missed opportunity here and there won't sink an album, but when they're as prevalent as with The Weight of the World, it's unfortunately hard not to take notice. Some better songwriting could do good things for this talented five-piece, but until then, there's not a lot to see.