Nothing is set in stone
-- If I May --
|■||Linz De Strooper||Vocals|
|■||Wouter De Cock||Lead guitar, backing vocals|
|■||Joren De Mesmaeker||Bass|
|■||Dwayne De Blander||Rhythm guitar|
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
I’ve been following If I May for a good five years now and most recently I saw a great performance from the band at the inaugural edition of the HeavyLake Festival. Not so long ago the band released a brand new single and since I haven’t properly shredded If I May’s material in the past, it’s now finally time to dig into their recorded stuff.
“King Of Nothing” is the newest single from the Belgian metalcore band If I May and the first piece of new material since the band’s second album “As Above // So Below,” released in 2020. The song, as is usual with If I May, begins with a short sample section, before the band introduce themselves with heavy guitar riffs and screaming vocals. The band smoothly jams throughout the song with a quite creative multi-vocal section and a nice breakdown during the finale.
Compared to the band’s earlier work, “King Of Nothing” is significantly heavier, there are less keyboard and orchestral samples and less clean vocals (there’s still a cleaner vocal section here, but it’s sort of a duet between Linz singing high & clean and low & rough). As a result, the band feels more like groove metal than the radio-friendly epic and sometimes poppy sounding rock music from the past. It’s also a rather short track compared to the band’s usual songs, clocking in a about 2:42 minutes rather than going well over 3 or 4 minutes.
Do I like this new If I May style over the previous one? Well, it certainly sounds and feels more natural (thanks to the much toned down use of electronic samples) but I do kind of miss the epicness of their earlier material (again, that’s because of the aforementioned samples). So if you thought If I May didn’t sound heavy or metal enough in their earlier material than this new “King Of Nothing” single may be an interesting tune for you to check out and see a different side of them. As for me, I hope they can actually balance both their old and new styles together, I think that could be quite an interesting combo. We shall see.
The music video for If I May’s “King Of Nothing” single features the band performing the song in some poorly lit room with only some vague violet lighting and the band often portrayed as silhouettes in that dimly lit area. Nice visuals overall, except for… one thing I don’t like in this music video (or in any visual content at all) is the sections with flickering lights. Now, the band does warn about that in the opening of the video and although I don’t suffer from epilepsy I just find the concept of flickering lights extremely irritating.
The themes in If I May’s “King Of Nothing” are nihilistic in nature with the narrator reminiscing of a past love or friendship that has fallen apart because of physical or emotional abuse and the narrator claims that his former partner has nothing going for him all things considered. He doesn’t own or rule over anything expect for that he claims to be owning or ruling over which, in the narrator’s eyes, is nothing meaningful at all.
7,5 violet lights out of 10. With “King Of Nothing,” If I May goes for a more straightforward style and puts more emphasis on the metal in the metalcore of their style. It’s quite different compared to the band’s earlier, more cleanly sung and sample-heavy work and it may be too big of a change compared to what you prefer from the band. As for me, I’m curious to hear where the band is evolving towards.