Praying, Hoping, Nothing

December - Praying, Hoping, Nothing ©1999 Inzane Records
1. Umbilical
2. Heaven Below
3. 8 Years
4. Monuments Collapse
5. Proximity/Mouthfull Of Sand
6. Shard Intro
7. Shard
8. Hatebridge
9. 1 Of 2
10. Lifelike (almost)

December, a group of five from Reno, Nevada, play a dull and uncreative blend of generic Cannibal Corpse death metal and generic Pro-Pain-style "groove metal" on their (mercifully) concise album Praying, Hoping, Nothing. In truth, they cannot be held fully accountable for this terribly tedious misadventure; the album's production is dry and lacks muscle, and the vocals, both screeched and growled, sound as if they were barked through several layers of clothing. But December have only themselves to blame for the shoddy and uninspired songwriting.

In one of the album's rare interesting moments, the opening number "Umbilical" hints at the rhythmic craziness to be found in The Dillinger Escape Plan's Calculating Infinity - but whatever promise December had is quickly dashed by the next song, "Heaven Below", a boring Pro-Pain chugger. The fourth track, "Monuments Collapse", is a faster song in the Cannibal Corpse vein, sans the guitar solos. Clocking in at over seven minutes, "Proximity/Mouthfull of Sand" is far and away the longest song on the album, most of the tracks not even reaching the four-minute mark. Around here is where I usually lose my attention and reach for another CD.

Apparently, December are quite the political band, and apparently they are strict adherents to the DIY ethic found in many punk and hardcore circles. But you won't find that out through the lyric sheet, which uses a messy font that is nearly impossible to read. With the lyrics being the least of its problems, the only proper place for Praying, Hoping, Nothing is the nearest trash receptacle - this is one of the worst albums of the year.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 05/2000

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The Lament Configuration

December - The Lament Configuration ©2001 Earache
1. Icenine
2. Vertigo
3. Waiting For Rain
4. Host
5. Trial
6. The Sleeping Throne
7. Token Gesture
8. By Example
9. Play Dead
10. Quiet Cold

"But we're produced by Devin Townsend!" laments December.

That's all nice and good, but frankly December is a trivial band that should be forgotten about as soon as possible. Sure, the production is pretty good, but as a fan of Devin Townsend, I'd rather he be working on his own music than producing such uninteresting dross. Certainly this outside work pays his bills, but can't we set up a donation fund for him? December's music is an attempt at mixing hardcore, some grind, some death metal and some technicality. Note I say "attempt". The band may have brought all the goods, but they forgot to include any songwriting. What the listener gets is a heap of heavy sounding riffs, buried screechy vocals that really do nothing to help matters, and a mess of competing sounds trying to convince the poor record buyer that there is something going on here. It's nothing more than a tedious steaming pile of discarded viscera. If someone were to rush up to you, grab you by the lapels and scream, "December is my favorite band, period!", you should assume that this person is a close relation of one of the band members.

A good production may be December's downfall. It becomes crystal clear this band doesn't have anything to offer music buyers. If you want technically oriented grind/death/hardcore hybrids, certainly Dillinger Escape Plan will give you everything you need and more. If all you need is a "heavy" album and have absolutely no need to be more discriminating in your tastes than that, by all means waste your dollars on The Lament Configuration. Unfortunately, you'll only be encouraging them to make more albums in the future.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2002

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