With For Today calling it quits, brothers Ryan and Brandon Leitru needed a new place to let their creative juices flow. The siblings decided to start their own project, added Danon Saylor (A Bullet for Pretty Boy) on vocals and Alex Camarena (Silent Planet) on drums, and Nothing Left was born. With For Today getting their start, and building their fan base through Facedown Records, it only made sense for the brothers to go back home with their brand new band. Nothing Left's first release, Destroy & Rebuild EP, takes what the Leirtu's were known for in For Today -- solid metalcore musicianship -- and adds some of the rawness and grittiness of the hardcore that defined Facedown in the 90's and early 00's. While For Today's nearly perfected sound was usually on point, there's something about the more unkempt sound of Nothing Left that gets you psyched.
The EP opens with the title track at a frenzied pace. Shades of For Today are definitely present in the breakdown-heavy song, but one can definitely hear that it isn't the same band. "Hands of Death" starts off at a blazing hardcore punk pace. The song was described by Ryan as "an honest look at the struggle to make sense of life in the aftermath of losing someone to suicide." The lyrics, "Stare in silent disbelief as the walls come crushing down on me. Lost a brother. Lost a friend; lost a life that came to an early end," that open the song up really set the scene for the depth and meaning to come. While the track features a super-fast verse, it does take a more metered, breakdown-like approach for the chorus. "Eternal Defiance" starts at a similar breakneck pace with its very own breakdown section at the end. "Burn It Away" is up next and keeps the faster pace going, but it does slow a few BMPs from the previous tracks. "No Way Out" begins winding the EP down with a song that is a little more straight-laced metalcore -- something along the lines of what you'd expect from the brother's former band. "Widen the Wound" has a great sounding opening before going into a grooving section and then into the faster pace found in earlier entries. The song, and album, come to a close with a chunky metalcore finale.
Nothing Left has little bit to offer the longtime and crossover fans, but also to those who prefer a little more grit than what you got with a slickly produced For Today album. The listener gets a little bit of the metalcore and breakdown scene, as well a raw and more chaotic fast-paced hardcore sound. It's really the best of both worlds, however, Nothing Left shines brightest in the bedlam of tracks like "Hands of Death" and "Eternal Defiance." The band even stays true to the hardcore formula with song lengths as only one track barely breaks the three-minute mark. Ryan and Brandon Leitru (along with Danon Saylor and Alex Camarena) have created a seriously aggressive and energetic group sure to remind you of hardcore's glory days while still repping the metalcore ideals that made them known. Destroy & Rebuild is a fun, albeit short, listen from front to back. Heavy music fans should be quite content with this release and awaiting a full album's worth of material.
- 4/11/17, Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com