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