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Skeletons

Nothingface

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Album Review

Saying that the members of Nothingface went through considerable turmoil in 2001 and 2002 would be an understatement. Guitarist Tom Maxwell's mother died, lead singer Matt Holt's house burned down and bassist Bill Gaal went through a divorce—all that was in addition to the departure of drummer Chris Houck (who was replaced by Tommy Sickles), a change in management and Holt's substance abuse problems. There were times when it seemed like Nothingface would break up, but thankfully, the band hung in there and completed Skeletons. All that turmoil obviously hasn't hurt the metalheads' creativity; produced by Bill Kennedy, this 2003 release is a superb follow-up to 2000's Violence. If anything, having to cope with so many challenges ultimately had a positive impact on Nothingface because it gave the alternative metal foursome a lot to draw on emotionally. And make no mistake: Skeletons is a very emotional album, not to mention passionate, focused and inspired. Like Violence, Skeletons is an album of contrasts—Nothingface continues to thrive on rich, intricate melodies as well as sledgehammer brutality. Holt can still scream and growl as mercilessly as a death metal or grindcore vocalist, and he can still be as accessible as Live's Ed Kowalczyk or Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Nothingface is hardly the only alterna-metal combo that, in the ‘90s and 2000s, has favored these heaven/hell and melody/noise contrasts, but they do it better than 95% of the competition. Those who admired Violence can take comfort in knowing that despite the challenges Nothingface's members faced in 2001 and 2002, they have no problem excelling on the equally impressive Skeletons.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Washington DC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The alternative metal outfit Nothingface formed in 1995 in Washington, D.C. Frontman Matt Holt, guitarist Tom Maxwell, bassist Bill Gaal, and drummer Chris Houck made riveting, gnarling hard rock intertwined with heavy melodies and a brash punk rock sound. After two releases for DCide, 1997's Pacifier and 1998's An Audio Guide to Everyday Atrocity, Nothingface made their major-label debut on TVT Records with 2000's Violence. After the album was completed, Houck was replaced by Tommy Sickles, and...
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Skeletons, Nothingface
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