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Nuclear Winter - Night Shift Award winner

Nuclear Winter
Night Shift
by Kai Naiman at 23 February 2020, 6:04 PM

One of the biggest enjoyments I receive from doing these reviews is to get familiarized with some of the most obscure and unexpected artists from all over the globe - it hasn't been long since I reviewed PATRICIA'S PATIENCE - a band from Puerto Rico, and now, my ears are sought after more of the same - and it is with my humble honor to introduce you to NUCLEAR WINTER - a solo project from Gary Stautmeister, a Zimbabwean artist from the capital Harare, and his newest, self-released album, "Night Shift", and let me tell you something - what a pleasant surprise discovering this record really was!

It doesn't often come when an artist creates a record that fully captivates a broad range of genres, but Gary Stautmeister sure is one to mention; from the beginning and onto the middle and conclusive moments of the record, this young and relatively unheard-of multi-instrumentalist created a record consisting of no mediocre and rehashed melodies in its own genre, which is, generally speaking, Melodic Death Metal, but rather engineered a tuple-genre masterpiece, with its sound stemming also mostly from Industrial Metal, Power Metal and Progressive Metal. A very eclectic record, NUCLEAR WINTER's "Night Shift" might not be as notable as records from giants of the sphere, such as DEVIN TOWNSEND, CYNIC, GOJIRA and DARKSEED to name a few, but does not at all fall short of such albums.

As far as musicianship and instrumentation on this album considering... oh man, where do I even begin? Gary Stautmeister is definitely a name that should be praised and followed relentlessly. All nine tracks found on "Night Shift" absolutely reek of creativity and concentration. It is, by all means, a "riff chasing another riff" album; "Down Where We Belong" and "Fragments Of Grandeur" are two tracks best portraying the strength and edge of the album, with every tasty riff chasing the next - with constant amendments that appear to never impair the listener's attention, and just add to the emotional-leverage set throughout the entire album. "Life Sick Hearts" is perhaps my favorite bit of music on "Night Shift"; it's fairly straight and to the point, with riffs that occasionally resonate with Folk Metal ambiance, and a pulsating verse progression and utterly-engaging chorus - it could've easily been called the 'single' of the whole record - but it is absolutely an outstanding track, much like all the tracks on the record are.

Having said that, there seems to be a repeating issue with records from unrecognized talents in the likes of Gary Stautmeister, and that's the production. I understand that most of these talented individuals lack the means and reputation in order to hire session artists, proper equipment or something as trivial as a decent production studio - and the fact that Gary lives in Zimbabwe, a place almost completely unrecognized with the heavy music scene, doesn't come to his aid. The drums on the album are probably recorded with an electric kit, and the fact I can clearly hear it - means either the kit is subpar, or the production of the drums is lackluster. Either way, this caused the drums to sound entirely robotic and lifeless - a shame, as with slightly more attention, this album would've been ideal, in my opinion.

Not many artists deserve such credit, but Gary Stautmeister with his project, NUCLEAR WINTER created a near-masterpiece by having very few resources, assistance and acknowledgment. "Night Shift" is a colossal surprise to the modern metal audience, and I hope that we will soon get to witness Stautmeister sharing his absolute competance with wider and more varied audiences worldwide, and with the tragic downfall of CYNIC, this project could easily take off as an honourable alternative, or even stand by its own right, by elaborating the unique sound attainable in "Night Shift".

Songwriting: 10
Production: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Western Gate
2. Down Where We Belong
3. Blueshift
4. The God Without Shadows
5. Life Sick Hearts
6. Years Lent
7. Fragments Of Grandeur
8. Third War
9. The Coming Darkness
Gary Stautmeister - Vocals, All Instruments
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 04 December 2022

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