The first way to make your metal band infinitely cooler is to make them sci-fi themed. It’s been done properly in thrash (Voivod, Vektor), and death metal has also had a few cool bands as well. Joining this style is Nucleus, a four piece from Chicago. Their first EP, “The Colony” marks the bands first major release, and is a fine slab of death metal. The first thing that will jump out at you is the production. The drums are extremely loud, especially the bass and snare drums. Aside from that issue, however, this EP is mostly solid. It spends much of its time delivering forceful, speedy riffs, which are pounded into your brain by the sheer intensity of the drums. Sometimes things can get a bit more mid-paced (particularly on “Mechanical Warfare”), but the band doesn’t abandon tremolo picking, they just adjust the feel of the song. Although this is a sci-fi influenced band, I would hesitate to call it technical death metal. There are moments of added emphasis on extremely skillful playing, but they generally don’t leave the realm of old-school death metal. The vocals are a pretty standard death growl; they’re not particularly understandable, but also don’t reach the depths of brutal death metal. At times, they can go a bit higher towards a black metal rasp. This style of vocals is very appropriate for the music.
My struggle with Nucleus is the songwriting. I am a big proponent of memorable songwriting, and unfortunately, I don’t feel Nucleus displays that. It’s easy to pick up a death metal record and find quality riffs (though admittedly Nucleus do better than most bands in this department), but the bands that combine those vicious riffs with catchy songs will always remain my favourites (Deicide, Morbid Angel, etc.). This isn’t a slight on Nucleus, because if you love death metal, you will love “The Colony”. There is room for improvement in the production and songwriting, but how many bands truly release a perfect first EP? "The Colony" is free to download, so check it out immediately!
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3.75/5 or 75%.
Written by Scott Dorfman