Review: “No Rest” by Joshua Travis

“I want everything to sound real. To go against the norm. To be loud and noisy and in some cases, not perfect. I’ve got preamps that are just on the verge of feeding back. And, if you listen to the beginning of songs, you can hear static as soon as you hit play. It’s a mess. But that’s exactly the point. If you can lean into the commotion and really put the pieces together through all the madness, you’ll come away with something sick. That’s what I’d like people to experience. You want to feel like everything’s taking place within its own universe. A place where we’re spinning wildly but keep finding our way back to the same things. When I saw that, I knew everything was right. Because whether intentional or not, it all made sense. The disarray was messy, but when snapped back into place, it gelled to form a cohesive whole. Isn’t that just perfect?” – Joshua Travis

Know for is work in Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, Glass Cloud and Emmure guitarist Joshua Travis set to embark on a solo project that has brought together a myriad of guests in a way that would let an artists do what they do and be who they are with freedom in collaboration, giving each individual the kind of creative opportunity that is a rarity. Travis simply lined them up with no prompt or theme to follow and sent them the pre-production material to add whatever they came up with and pass back with in input during that phase from the man himself, ensuring that each individuals moments were kept in their purist form and there was no influence from any direction. That hands off approach might seem at odds with the idea of collaboration but it does make for something of a unique experience when it comes to the end product and with the experience of studio owner and audio engineer Josh Schroeder (Lorna Shore, The Color Morale, King 810) to lean on, anything becomes possible. If you’re wondering where the title “No Rest” comes from, it could be a reflective one as just two days before tracking the studio drummer had to cancel so at Random Awesome in Midland, Michigan, Travis spontaneously became responsible for completing guitar, bass, and drums. Or it could simply be a pointer to the listener about the restless and relentless energy that there is within the confines of these sonic creations. On a minor note, at the time of writing not all the guests have been revealed so in addition to those mentioned below all that is known is that someone from Fit For A King also took part.

It would have been easy for Travis, who started his career as a drummer nearly 25 years ago to create instrumental material and go off on a tangent into some strange new World of riff worship as if tripping on some mushrooms in the desert, leaving us all bemused by some shoegazing meanderings. But this is anything but that. Instead Travis raises the game on his previously released work with five lethal doses of pure, intricate adrenaline fuelled cuts that could easily belong to any of those projects because they sound exactly like the kind of work Travis would create. No holds barred, no quarter given. The EP opens with “Web Of Lies“, a serious high octane cut straight from the Deathcore playbook that sees Australian guitarist Stephen Taranto tear things up with a blistering lead section that blows the mind against the backdrop from rhythm-specialist Travis who himself decimates the weak with the kind of nine string performance anyone who knows him would expect and is simply immense. The often unfairly criticized Andy Cizek of Monuments then adds a throat shredding performance that beggars belief with some catharsis and the pace and tone are set very high. Building from that you then have the bombastic “Leviathan” which sees Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake and Chad Kapper of Frontierer go head to head with insane polyrhythmic fury and that ends with surreal windchimes as Travis offers up something that sounds absolutely monstrous. By this point the adrenaline is running and the gauges are hitting the red zone with the unstoppable power, pace and energy of each of these tracks, the way in which they have cohesively come together completely unexpected with the methodology put to use in their creation. As with Cizek, Jamie Hails of Polaris hasn’t delivered a vocal performance quite this brutal before, his partner in crime Jake Steinhauser adding his own moments of clarity as every single guest matches Travis stride for stride to deliver a set of spellbinding performances that defy all the odds. “Parallel” goes off in a different direction, Progressive to the point of almost Melodic Hardcore moments and ambience bleeding out between the crushing staccato heaviness with the slowed down water drops reverberating at the end of perhaps signalling a profound moment of reflection taking place by the bathroom sink. It sounds huge and different while in keeping with the rest before the DJent fuelled bounce of “All Out War” brings the addictive groove that will have two steppers and spin kickers screaming with delight, the riffs sounding as if they would be right at home on the last Emmure record “Hindsight“. Let there be no doubt about it. This is a masterpiece created primarily by one of the finest rhythm guitarists around, his unique talents should be celebrated as the backbone of this record and quite frankly the only thing left to say is – please sir, can we have some more? [9/10]

Track listing

  1. Web Of Lies (ft. Andy Cizek of Monuments, Stephen Taranto)
  2. Leviathan (ft. Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake, Chad Kapper of Frontierer)
  3. Disdain (ft. Jamie Hails and Jake Steinhauser of Polaris)
  4. Parallel (ft. Jake Wolf and Daniella Bolin)
  5. All Out War (ft. Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King)

No Rest” by Joshua Travis is out 18th March 2022 via SharpTone Records

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