Down to Nothing - All My Sons [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Down to Nothing

All My Sons [7-inch] (2010)


Richmond's Down to Nothing is in many ways the quintessential hardcore band: heavy without being metal or tough-guy, fun but not dumb or cheesy, and catchy while still maintaining a hard edge. The guitars are huge, but stick to riffs you could hum along to and the vocals are in mid-range and don't take too many chances. It's a formula that many bands try, but few perform so effortlessly as Down to Nothing. If someone who wasn't familiar with this genre asked me to hear something, I would play them this band because they hit all the modern elements, but simply do it in a more enjoyable way than most any other band of this style.

All My Sons represents the band's first release on Reaper Records after spending time on both Thorp and Revelation. While the lower production values on this record might make it seem like the band is taking a step backwards, this is still the same band cranking out highly listenable hardcore with just enough meat on the bones to qualify for repeat listening. The highlight for me is the track "Set Sail," starting out with a palm-muted groove before busting into a great half-time riff that is impossible not to bob your head to.

Lyrically, David Wood often sticks to the positive and inspirational style of lyrics so prevalent in hardcore. Lines like "stay sharp, stay real, stay true: undefeated," from the title track, have that typical modern hardcore approach, but the delivery is smooth and not so overbearing and eyeball roll-inducing like other bands such as Reign Supreme. There are even gang vocals, but are used properly: backups to the main vocals and not the centerpiece.

From a strictly elemental standpoint, Down to Nothing isn't that different than most hardcore bands--riffs, palm-muting, breakdowns and yelling. However, why it works, I think, is that DTN doesn't take itself too seriously. They're a hardcore band and don't pretend to be anything more or less. For hardcore, which has its roots and purpose close to the ground, this lack of grandeur is a welcome thing.