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Others by No One - Book II: Where Stories Come From CD (album) cover


Others by No One


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.03 | 21 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars The second studio album by what very well could be a new favorite band [you can see my rating, but I still have hope], Book II was released in 2021, four years following their debut. Certainly better timing than, say, and forgive me for this, Native Construct [If we ever get a second album from them...]. Of course, very exciting when new bands continue in an idiom that you appreciate, and Others by No One so fits the bill. When I first heard Book I, I was blown away... From midway through to the end, I do have this thought, significantly more than with the debut, that I just really want to listen to Native Construct... I guess instead.

Very interesting acoustic, quieted ballad in our introductory "Counting Raindrops". Mobarry has lovely vocals. The latter half has a very folksy feeling, which opens up fuller in the final half minute. I mean, wow? "An Artwork; Clandestine" is a beautiful ensemble of string-plucks and jazzy bassings, followed by flute and simple strumming. I have to wonder, and we're not even two songs in, just how long it took to create the concept and compose this... I'm just preparing myself for a journey. [Admittedly, a journey it was.]

Next is our first mini-epic, the 11-minute "A Reverie to Quell the Giants", with open, soaring strings over an optimistic Rock beat. It takes a minute into this song that we hear our first metallic entry, an intense and dramatic swell... Again, as expected, getting flavors from, I assume mostly, Native Construct and Between The Buried And Me. Before minute 3... you just don't get gang vocals in Prog Metal too frequently, huh? I pray it's understood, in its melodrama, that what this also seems to call to mind is Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. There are some showtune-type things going on [and it's not the last], the Progressive Deathcore heaviness, that modern Prog Metal brightness, mixed also with, as I'm suggesting, something objectively Post-Hardcore. In addition to Native Construct, some of these sing-songy, Broadway-ready sections feel like they could be rooted in The Dear Hunter. I feel that in the tone of this song, for sure (and I am still talking about "A Reverie" haha). Nearing minute 7, the gang vocals return over a really intense sort of Deathcore breakdown. This may not appeal to every Prog fan, nor every Prog Metal fan, but this stuff is so well constructed, in all of its disparate and (expectedly) sporadic styles.

"Right Side of the Brain" starts off in a very unique tone. This is a solid BTBAM-style song. It's dramatic, intense, not letting up much at all, except for, say, the chorus. Great melodies, awesome musicianship. The middle section shifts to something... bizarre, but not entirely unfamiliar. I likely said this in my review for Book I, but this level of strange drama is rooted in performers like Mike Patton and bands like his Mr. Bungle. The ending of this track is quite lovely. Love the guitar. Up next, we have our second of three mini-epics, "The Impassecopedum". Weird, lower vocals here... This intro features a droning and ethereal synth underneath these vocals. This song's verse has vocals reminiscent of Patton, but also has a sort of Southern almost Gospel feel to it. But the song also has a Bungle-esque circus vibe in some parts. And then... a swelling faux-horn(?!) thing. I don't even know how to keep up with it all. The main lead vocals are really lovely. He's certainly an accomplished vocalist. Technical, but free in his experimentation. The keyboards... the guitars... everything? It's all great. In maximalism, this feels a tad more confident and stronger than "A Reverie". So eclectic and, with that too, excellently produced across the board, regardless of their tonal focus. Around the middle, there's an almost Cabaret/Wurlitzer type section with jazzy affectations by the rhythm section. There's something about it that reminded me of VdGG. All compliments, when it comes to what I feel are potential references. If I can do my best to summarize my thoughts on "The Impassecopedum", it is an impressive feat in holding my attention like this, as consistently as this, while also having many sections featuring greatly memorable material.

Up next, we enter more melodic, clean beauty in the intro on "Foxjune". These guys really have a lot of strengths across many vibes, tones, compositional styles, and genres. Just very impressive in that alone. This song has a sort of Emo/Post-Hardcore feeling to it, as well. The chords used are very familiar and the vocals are a great match. Big stuff goin' on, though it's in a feeling, emotive mode. I can't help but say this: beautiful. Around minute 3, there is a sizeable rhythmic shift. For the sake of repetition, I can't help but smile. Frisson country up in here, friends. Gorgeous. And then we're onto a different kind of beauty in the super modern, bright "Debt for Your Thoughts", which has more electronic and... Pop(?) influences. A lot to say. But I don't know how to state it all haha. This is more progressive than most in this field of the genre; for reasons that Prog fans aren't necessarily going to appreciate. Have an open mind, for sure. Best I can say. There's then a samba(?) rhythm in the latter half. Once again, too much to explain here haha. Impressive, to say the least. Is this like Ben Levin?... Ha! A band that actually understands the term "progressive" [in my humble opinion].

[It was at this point in the album that I took a pretty substantial break... For the best, to clear my head haha.]

Starting off our second half is the spacy "Tomes". Its first half hearkens back to the Ambient music of Eno, but the second half... is an eerie call to... I don't know. Art Zoyd? haha. It's very creepy. So... Well done! It ends fairly abruptly, picks back up briefly and then we're in the next, the similarly named "Tombs". The eeriness continues, despite being assured that "this is your home", as they say. Just as melodramatic as before. Kind of unrelated, but y'all heard that newer album by Spellling? That sh*t's good. Anyways... this track is rather singular, but to a pretty decent effect. Especially the death growls at the end... uhh... Unsettling. Next, we have the surely interluding 1-minute-and-change "The Tales of Nebulous Man". Very interesting... haha. Still unsettled.

Up next is a song of completely differing tone, "Well-Read". This is a melodic, piano-led song with a straighter rhythm. Very odd backing vocals call back, to my ears, to Kate Bush's "The Ninth Wave", the epic second half of her beloved album Hounds of Love. This track is lovely though overall. Still unusual haha. We get a big shift toward heavy darkness around minute 2. It changes again and again, first through an electronic chip-tuney section, and an industrial section which turns into a Deathcore(?) breakdown. This is followed by bellowing lead vocals. Back to showtunes? Regardless, great melodies. The snarling and growling remind me of a section of Utopia's ridiculous (and ridiculously good) fantasy epic, "Singring and the Glass Guitar", following Roger Powell's vocal verse. I guess overall, this song isn't exactly for me. We already know they have it all in them to do whatever they want, but... there are better songs here. Coming out of this wild adventure is the lovely piano balladry of "The Plight of Proxy". Around minute 1, it shifts to the focus of strummed acoustic guitar. Trying to decide how I feel about this one. There's some pretty nice electric lead guitar in the second half. Nothing saved it. It's a "meh" for me, dawg.

Finally, we have our third longest track, "Where Stories Come From". This is introduced right out of the final notes of "The Plight" and features some lovely, spacy synth padding. We're riding high in the clouds. Keys drop away and guitar takes over. It's all very pretty. But when the second section enters around minute 2, I'm getting familiar feelings: I don't know how I feel. And then... beautiful lead bass riffing rides over tasteful piano. And then it just opens up further. Great beat. And great melodies in this third part. This song is... too all over the place in a way totally other from the rest. Approaching minute 6 is a pretty great, swelling section. It's pretty epic. I just feel like... I'm not rewarded by it? haha. It feels undue. I'm not saying the song isn't "good", and certainly not saying the song wasn't for the most part very pretty, but... I got nothin'.

I really do feel like I have to listen to a lot of this again, but... as of now... True Rate: 3.5/5.0

DangHeck | 3/5 |


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