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Nucleus - Entity

by Martin Knap at 13 May 2019, 7:02 PM

Just a look at the VOIVOD-esque logo will tell you that NUCLEUS love sci-fi and space-stuff and things can get pretty heated, complicated and nasty in space. The Chicago four-piece released their full-length debut “Sentient” in 2016, which was received rather positively. The band members are young and hungry so of course we could expect some development and progress in their musicianship. NUCLEUS play Death Metal inspired by old-school Progressive/Technical Death Metal like DEATH, NOCTURNUS, or DEMILICH. I would say that their sound is closest to the last named here, NOCTURNUS are not an introspective band like HORRENDOUS – perhaps the biggest star of this old-school Tech-Death “revival” – they are much more interested in sheer nastiness and savagery. To elaborate a bit more on NUCLEUS’ style and songwriting approach: they play lots of noodly, “techy” riffs, but they never stray from the ways of old-school Death Metal. You might say that their riff repertoire is a mix of old-school, “technical” riffs but also more simple, nasty ones.

NUCLEUS is clearly inspired by DEMILICH’s off-kilter sound, but they are not as straight-forward as those Finnish forebearers; the song structures are more complex – you could compare them to NUCLEUS in this regard – but not full-on Progressive. The songs rip through different phrases and are engaging mainly because of the variety of riffs on display and the often shifts between phrases and tempos. That is not to say that the song meander pointlessly, there are standout moments: songs can culminate with blasty sections and fleshy guitar playing, or they may slowly fade-out in a doomy, atmospheric ending. But at the end of the day it’s pure Death Metal – don’t expect too much scope and depth. What you can expect is just solid, catchy riffs and grooves, some blasting savagery and tight execution. The riffs just keep on coming – sometimes nasty, driving, sometimes noodly and off-the-wall – and you just can’t help but immerse yourself in them. It rips, in other words.

The opener “Arrival” starts with a lengthy brooding intro, but the aggressive riffing and blasts are just around the corner. The song shifts between blasting parts and groovy parts, and has and genre-appropriate short and off-the-wall solo. “Entity” kicks off with a hard-hitting Swe-Death kind of riff and guttural growls, it shifts between this driving, nasty riff and strange dissonant noodling and monstrous grooves – the contrast is interesting and makes for and engaging listen. “Mobilization” goes pedal to the metal in the beginning, but slows down in the middle and has a nice atmospheric closing with a creepy, spacey clean guitars and ominous chanting. There is a number of these creepy, atmospheric moments on the record, but it’s more like an icing on the cake, the core is strict Death Metal. “Outpost” shifts between sections with a strange, techy DEMILICH-esque riff and nasty, aggressive ones. The song culminates with an intense section with fleshy guitar playing. The album “Timechasm” – a song with an ominous vibe and slower in tempo. There is a fast, aggressive peak in the middle of the song, it ends with s spacey, doomy section.

Entity” is an enjoyable record, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel but is fun to listen to. The playing is tight and songs have a nice flow to them – they don’t sound messy or overwritten. Don’t miss this, especially if you like the old-school sound.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Arrival
2. Entity
3. Uplift
4. Mobilization
5. Approach
6. Outpost
7. Dominion
8. Timechasm

Dan Ozcanli - Guitars, Vocals
Dave Muntean - Guitars, Vocals
Ryan Reynolds - Bass
Pat O'Hara - Drums

Record Label: Unspeakable Axe Records


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