Next To None - A Light in the Dark

Next To None A Light in the Dark cover
Next To None
A Light in the Dark
InsideOut Music
Next To None is a young band that performs some kind of prog influenced modern metal with lukewarm poppy vocals that’s far from terrible but also a far cry from being called anything special. Featuring Max Portnoy, the son of former Dream Theater’s drummer Mike Portnoy, we get the same over-pronounced drum sound as in the case of his dad but a more classic approach and less impressive arrangements. While for a bunch of 15-16 year olds they are mature enough and Mike Portnoy has helped them achieve quite a decent sound in the studio assuming the role of producer, the overall style and homogeny of the material that at certain point also incorporates some harsher vocals as well, aimed at the mellow-core crowd and the obvious case of nepotism makes this less than appealing.
It’s fine to be proud of your offspring and by all means Next To None can play but, they’re nothing special and had they not been the band with Mike Portnoy’s kid, in it I have certain doubts that they would be given a minute of the hour, much less get their debut signed by an established company and have the guest appearances they do Bumblefoot (Guns N Roses) and Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard).
Songs like the wacky opener “The Edge of Sanity” (hmm) and the two more mellow clean sung numbers “Lonely Walk” and “Legacy” are sort of good but the rest of the material despite the technical adequacy of the performances are a bit too alike and not really too awe inspiring. Especially a bunch of numbers around the middle of the album with extremely protrudince keyboard arrangements do bring to mind a lot of daddy’s former band stylistically and trying to sit through the nine plus minutes of “Control” is not always that easy.
A promising modern prog band? Sure! Would I go crazy over them at this point definitely not and the whole way they are shamelessly “injected” into the scene just hijacks other people’s chance in the limelight. But progs are big snubs anyway. They’d rather listen to something complex than to something with more musicality for the sake of being odd and elitist.