Perhaps since back in the cavern days, artists have collaborated together. No matter the field, we’ve seen great minds coming together to blend both of their talents into some of the greatest pieces of art ever made in history. Music is everything but the exception, with countless acts coming together, from their own genres to also different styles that no one thought it could work at that time (the Run DMC take on Walk This Way by Aerosmith basically changed music forever). The next album might not reach the iconic status, but it’s definitely a sort of a dream team.
Volume II: Without Nothing I’m You by Black Note Graffiti is filled with hard-hitting riffs from the beginning to end. Vocals by Ricardo Ortiz are powerful and elevates every song to new levels. They are always on point. The band collaborated with, among many other producers, Vinn-E Dombroski of Sponge fame and his hands can be felt throughout the record. In every song you can hear some layers and elements that made Dombroski band’s music so great. However, BNG does finds its own signature and doesn’t mimic their influences but take what they learned from them and give it their own spin. There are some great songs, but “Castles” has to be my favorite as the band subtly changes the tone for this one and add some funky and groovy undertones that reminded me to Nonpoint, even Ortiz sounds somewhat similar to Elias Soriano.
There isn’t too much negative things to say about the record, it does feel a bit repetitive at first but after “Castles” they find the way to dive into other styles and the music overall take new routes and feels pretty much fresh. Just listen “Shadows”, it sounds like if it was written by a different new band.
Criteria - 90%
Overall, this an album that gets a rough start but it knows how to become a monster of a record. It meets all the requirements a rock album needs to have to become iconic, or at least highly popular. If, just like me, you have been dying to hear another record from System of a Down or A Perfect Circle - this band is definitely none of them, but Volume II: Without Nothing I'm You works as a great replacement. Definitely looking to catch more of this band in the future and if you give them a shot, you will more likely do the same.