Next To None: A Light In The Dark

Portnoy was here – and here.

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Being hyped as “prog prodigies” could be tempting fate, let alone cynical reviewers, but Pennsylvanian quartet Next To None’s individual and collective instrumental abilities are remarkable – and they’re not yet out of high school.

They’re led by drummer Max Portnoy, son of former Dream Theater drummer Mike, who has produced their debut album – although he’s at pains to point out that he did nothing more than “show them round the studio”.

Portnoy Junior is as technically proficient as his dad and propels the band into the heavy riffs that set up most of the songs and the relentless rhythmic shifts that characterise the instrumental breaks.

Most of the tracks, apart from a couple of ballads, work their way towards grungey, growling verses that lead to a brief melodic chorus, but while their instrumental prowess is beyond reproach, there’s a shortage of memorable hooks and the vocals sometimes struggle to convince./o:p

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.