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Nasty - Menace

by Mark Machlay at 13 October 2020, 6:40 AM

With their 7th full-length record and Century Media Records debut, Belgian hardcore quartet are pulling no punches with “Menace”. Equal parts beatdown and primal, the band have been kicking out their knuckle-busting brand of hardcore since 2004, forming in Kelmis, Belgium. Quickly establishing themselves with two demos in two years released under previous name VAN DAMME¸ they got to work on their debut “Declaring War” released in 2006 through Fuck This Recordings. Switching to Goodlife Recordings, “Aggression” was released in 2008 and “Give a Shit” in 2010. Changing for the last time before signing with Century Media, “Love” was released in 2013 via Beatdown Hardware as well subsequent albums “Shokka” in 2015 and “Realigion” in 2017. Going strong for 16 years, bands rarely retain members for that amount of time and so there have been plenty of shakeups to the lineup. But founding member and vocalist Matthias Tarnath is still keeping NASTY on the brutal path along with drummer Berry with Nash on bass and Paddy on guitar.

“Menace” is an album that bludgeons you in the face, drags you through the mud and scrapes your face against the pavement with its streamlined, straight the point hardcore, delivering an all-out assault on your senses. “Ultimate” begins with sounds of sirens and the streets of a big city before launching into guttural vocals, chugging guitars, behind-the-nut pick rakes and an abundance of pinch harmonics. You get a short, brutal track in “Bullettrain” – almost as a reprieve – before title track “Menace” flattens the listener with a roundhouse of a track that is a mix of old school hardcore and slam, similar to the intro track and a second half that is even more intense starting off with heavy, throttling double bass runs. “Be Careful” continues the onslaught but expands their sound, including some chanting vocal overdubs and a cleaner vocal delivery on the chorus for the first time. A few tracks later, “Betrayer” even has a quick breakdown right at the beginning, some nice vocal doubling after some chants of “Betrayer!” ending with machine-gun-like drum and guitar runs. “You Will Know My Name” sees them injecting a little groove metal into their repertoire and “Inhale/Exhale” furthers that exploration with Dimebag Darrel style pinch harmonics that dive bomb up and down.

It’s hard to tell exactly when the change happens, but the latter part of the album is much more experimental. By “Inhale/Exhale”, NASTY explores groove and melodic death metal guitar parts, venturing outside of basic hardcore tropes. “Addicted” begins with an ominous intro with a record scratch ending into more chaos, but it features one of the only outright guitar solos which may be simple and pentatonic but is filled with flare and guitar squeals. They even venture into rhythmic and tempo shifts throughout “Table of Kings” with a slow guitar opening and more groove metal dive bombs up and down. The record ends uncharacteristically with the instrumental “Ballad of Bullets”. It starts out cacophonous, like an apocalypse, building slowly. Then one guitar plays alone, then a second joins with interesting riffage giving way to some unexpected guitar leads slightly drowned out by the rhythm guitar. The whole album ends as it begins into sirens and street sounds before the final guitar literally gets unplugged from the amp. “Menace” is a record that will pleases NASTY’s hardcore fan base but flirts with an impressive evolution towards the end.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Ultimate
2. Bulletrain
3. Menace
4. Be Careful
5. 666AM
6. Tricky Plays
7. Betrayer
8. You Will Know My Name
9. Inhale/Exhale
10. Blood Crop
11. Addicted
12. Table of Kings
13. The End Of The World
14. The Ballad of Bullets
Matthias Tarnath – Vocals
Paddy – Guitar
Berry – Drums
Nash – Bass
Record Label: Century Media Records


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