Transitional: Nothing Real Nothing Absent

A new project by guitarist, vocalist, and programmer Kevin Laska (Novatron) and bassist Dave Cochrane (Jesu, Grey Machine), Transitional specializes in densely layered skull-crushers, six examples of which comprise its debut release Nothing Real Nothing Absent. Just when you think “Nowhere Shining” might introduce the album with six minutes of orchestral sweep, drums and raw guitar slabs roar in at the two-minute mark to take the roof off. The group's sound grows ever more gargantuan in the moments that follow until it reaches an annihilating pitch during the closing minute. In the bleak soundscape that follows (“Fractured”), we hear the steely churn of factory machines still operating following the apocalypse. The distorted shudder of helicopter blades also seems to be present and guitars writhe in agony amidst scattered blasts and charred metal. Vocals bring some semblance of normalcy to the raging storm of guitars and deathly drum plod in “This Paradise Part 1” In “Lustless,” a deep voice croaks “Your body / Your heart / Your eyes / Your broken mind”—not quite your typical romantic serenade—after which a fireball of guitar fuzz drops like a guillotine blade. The relatively meditative closer “Abandonment” conjures images of the stillness and quiet that would pervade that smoldering landscape following the meltdown—a welcome moment of peace given the relentless pummel of the album's other material. At thirty-three minutes, Nothing Real Nothing Absent is short by CD standards yet it feels like a complete statement, especially when the material is so decimating.

July 2008