When it comes to any form of music, influence is a hard goal to achieve. In order to achieve the privileged status of being an influential artist or band, it requires a lot of talent, hard work and dedication to the craft in order to do something that really stands out from the crowd. However, a band not being influential doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad, and some great albums over the years have worn their influences on their sleeve.
With this in mind, it seems appropriate to talk about the debut album from Scottish metal newcomers, Centrilia. Obviously that term can cover an enormous spectrum of music, but when thinking about the pivotal aspects of what makes a metal band, these guys definitely tick all the right boxes. Huge riffs, monstrous drumming, a vocalist who has an impressive range covering both harsh and clean vocals, and an overall anti-establishment approach to their lyrical themes. And when you delve into their debut record: In the Name of Nothing, you soon discover there is a lot of talent on display here, and the musicianship is wholly impressive. Additionally, they have an impressive production trio on board, including the legendary Terry Date, who helped to produce some of the most seminal metal albums of the 1990s by bands such as Pantera and Deftones.
In The Name Of Nothing doesn't come without its flaws though. When listening to the 8 tracks present here, there is an overarching sense of familiarity about the music. Whilst you can't deny the musical talent this band possess, the songwriting feels quite derivative and too often the music sounds too much like some of their influences. This familiarity is perhaps most evident on the second track and the lead single, 'Splitting Hairs/Spitting Teeth', which sounds way too close to Lamb of God and Machine Head to be considered a fresh vision. In general, the first half of this record struggles to find enough of a creative zenith to really stand out in this sub genre, and even more-so, stand out amongst their peers.
Having said that, the derivative nature of some of the material on In the Name of Nothing shouldn’t put listeners off, because in many ways this album is a force to be reckoned with. As mentioned previously this is a band made up of competent and extremely talented musicians, who all have the ability to add their own specific layers of quality. On top of that, there are songs which definitely stand out far more than others. These songs tend to be the longer ones, such as the title track and the final (and longest) track, 'Tamam Shud'. The title track allows the band to go full blast with the melodicism, with a memorable hook and some really impressive clean singing, while 'Tamam Shud' is by far the most progressive and well written song on the entire record, and should serve as a benchmark for where the band takes their sound from here. Adding a more progressive tinge to their melodic groove-oriented sound rivals them against bands such as Byzantine, and this final track genuinely could compete with Byzantine in terms of quality.
Overall, this is a record that is a solid enough debut from Centrilia, and it shows potential. Whilst a lot of the songwriting leaves a lot to be desired, it is certainly far from the worst that this style of metal has to offer. There is a lot of talent on display here and if they take a more progressive approach to their writing on future releases, they have the potential of absolutely blowing everyone’s socks off with their next release.