Have you ever come across an album for a new band and thought, ‘man I can’t wait to hear these guys in like 5 to 10 years, once they’ve really grown as a band?’ Well thats exactly how I feel with a band like Next to None. Full of excellent musicianship and talent throughout, however having given this album a few listens now, I can see what they are going for and can appreciate it. . . It just seems really cluttered at times, like they just threw sounds in to see if anyone was paying attention. Seeing this live would be pretty amazing I am sure, as the son of Mike Portnoy is sure to deliver a solid performance on drums just as his father does no matter the group he plays with.
Now, since they are kids at the moment I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt that this is extremely new to them and they are working out all the kinks. Hopefully when they come back with album two it will be a much more solid/fluid listen.
Ok all that being said, like I said the band is full of talent, Max Portnoy is a fucking beast on the drums, Guitarist Ryland Holland can certainly shred, Vocalist/Keyboardist Thomas Cuce has an incredible range and his vocals will only grow stronger over time, while I haven’t heard any standout bass lines that’s usually a great sign that Kris Rank is doing his job in keeping tight with the rest of the musicians. I feel like the group is trying very hard at the beginning of the album to be like Dream Theater with all the added nonsense sounds, which work when done right, just seem a bit out of place on this album. Unfortunately for Next to None, the album doesn’t really start being very cohesive until the last few songs of the album songs like “Social Anxiety” and “Legacy” are two of the strongest songs, while also two of the shortest songs on the album. Other songs that really stand out are heavy hitter “You Are Not Me” and while very strange things happen in the opening track “The Edge of Sanity” is actually pretty awesome and would probably be insane live!
Overall A Light in the Dark is full of potential, with talented musicians it just has that first album feel. The future of Next to None is quite strong and really I urge you to at least give this album a shot as these kids will blow up in the coming years.
RIYL: Dream Theater, Black Tide, Spocks Beard, Tim Bowness