I’ll be honest, when you receive a CD from a band like Nuclear you want it to be great before you even put it into the player. Nuclear are a band who’ve worked too hard to be merely mediocre and one look at their press-release shows the band to be a dedicated group of metalheads whose sole purpose in life is to create glorious, brutal, razor-sharp metal that combines state-of-the-art riffing with intelligent lyrics.
Happily ‘Jehovirus’ more than lives up to expectations. In fact, it confounds them at every turn combining the incisive riffs of early Metallica with the brutality of Exodus and Slayer to make a swirling maelstrom of noise full of vicious solos, lurching tempo changes and memorable riffs. Make no mistake, Nuclear are an overlooked gem and if this review encourages readers to check out this awesome band then I’ll consider it a job well done. Opening with the slow, ground out intro to ‘Beligerance’ which is all bass-heavy guitar and harmonised leads, the band explode into the track with a brutal thrash riff which is pure old-school malevolence tempered by a Slayer-esque, syllable mangling vocal line. It’s a great opening track that combines the best elements of Slayer, Exodus and Testament into a multiple-tempo, furious assault on the senses that will see any mosh-pit the world over ignite, particularly on the mid-tempo bridge section that briefly slows the pace before the band put pedal to the metal for the furious, solo-filled conclusion. ‘Criminal solicitation’ is next and it is a furious maelstrom of noise that opens with pummelling double-bass and the sort of guitar riff that permeated Slayer’s ‘Reign in blood’ opus. If anything, ‘Asphyxia’ is even faster – a mammoth guitar riff ground out over a drum assault that is somewhere between heavy metal and the ominous rumble of a tank attack. Better still the band are captured with a blistering clarity by the production team of guitarists Sebastian Puente and Francisco Haussmann who deserve special mention for bringing the solos to the fore while still maintaining the furious power of Matias Leonicio’s vocals which sit somewhere between Tom Araya and Chuck Billy in terms of power and precision. A firm highlight of the album ‘Asphyxia’ simply slays and makes you wonder how many other phenomenal thrash bands are overlooked in favour of the so-called ‘big four’ – Nuclear are serious contenders.
‘Brutal yet precise’ does exactly what it says on the tin (to pinch a cliché from the well-known advert) as it sets a vicious vocal assault to guitars that could cut through steel. Pummelling yet allied to some blistering lead runs that would make even (Annihilator guitarist) Jeff Waters proud – this is one of the most technical songs on the album and it is quite stunning. ‘Acts of depravity’ briefly slows the pace with a watery-sounding guitar intro before lurching into the darkest recesses of the mind with a nightmarish trawl through the gutters of human history set to a brutal, twisted slow-grind that shows that Nuclear have a firm grasp of dynamic rather than persistently choosing to batter the listener with sheer speed. ‘The one we must kill’ is, as a result, something of a relief despite being twice as fast! Following on from such an intense song it leaps out of the speakers with an untamed fury that gets the head moving whether you like it or not. ‘World depletion’ has a vicious stop-start dynamic that echoes the desensitized hell of early Godflesh before a dirty thrash riff tears the mood to pieces and rips open your head searing skin and bone alike. ‘On killing’ is as dark as its subject matter – a brutal, screaming hole of belligerent thrash that slowly comes together through the twisted into and then launches itself straight for the jugular – it’s the most brutal song here and more than a match for anything on ‘world painted blood’ which should give you an idea of the levels we are talking here. Final track ‘defleshed’ arrives, breathless and ready to kill and, much like early Metallica, you can only stand astonished that the band still have the energy to be so damn brutal after the previous thirty minutes of joyous abandon.
Nuclear prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that thrash is not about big names or reliving the past; it’s about passion and commitment to music and about musicians honing themselves to the peak of their abilities. Everything about Nuclear is world class, from the excellent production to the disturbingly graphic artwork and intelligently written lyrics. It was a pleasure to review this CD and if there’s any justice fans of thrash metal will be heading in the direction of the nearest outlet that stocks this blisteringly brutal CD. My only hope is that one day we may catch Nuclear in the flesh because as good as this album is, the live experience is where this material will truly shine. Put simply ‘Jehovirus’ f***ing rocks. Check it out now.