Sound — 10
While not original per se, First Came The Law is a fantastic combination of many musical genres; to name a few, '80s metal, thrash, southern rock, and just straight up metal. With it's opening track "The Intimidator" the beginning riff really sets the tone for the album that hints at a Metallica-esque sound, followed by the lyric "you wanna go for a ride." After that the song kicks into a fairly intense song with fantastic drumming and guitar breakdowns. What ensues is a mash of western metal that really has no equal. Songs such as "Juliet or At Least What's Left of Her," "Dust of a Town," and "Whisky Breath" really stand forward as being the best (in my opinion) but the entire album shines with this. It should be noted that this record is supposed to have a western hint, so those looking for euro/black metal will be sorely disappointed, but I believe it is a fresh new take on the now cluttered metal scene.
Lyrics — 9
This is not metalcore. There are no "soft" singing spots, it is purely screaming and what can be described as yells. The singer Todd Lowry really belts his ass off the entire record through and it is a welcome slap in the face. It is more musical than most metal bands out today, which is saying something seeing how there are no quiet, emo choruses. The lyrics themselves are interesting enough, having a western run 'n gun feel to them and are original in that sense. They are, however, based on the same old love, death, drinking, themes. Then again, we are talking about the the wild west, and I'm assuming that is how it was, based on the many western movies I have seen. But that is just nitpicking. The lyrics are great, loud, and they fit the album incredibly.
Overall Impression — 10
I was truly surprised when I "bought" this album. I was expecting the same growls, followed by guitar breakdowns, followed by growls routine, and I was happily mistaken. Instead I was given a much more musical experience with clear guitar, drums, and vocals. Once Nothing has really advanced itself into prime position of being one of the elite metal groups today with this near perfect album. The songs on the record reflect the obvious theme that is being presented, which is rare for bands, and with some of the tightest, most music driven guitar around, it is safe to assume almost everyone will find something to like with this album. Now is the time to use that free trial towards napster, emusic, or rapsody. Hell, myspace.com/oncenothing is a place to listen to their songs for free, no registration required (lazy bastards). There is no excuse to not hear at least one of these songs. They are great in concert and deserve all the support they can get.