Nuclear Death Terror: Chaos Reigns

The collecting together of previously only vinyl available releases from death/crust metal band Nuclear Death Terror in the shape of Chaos Reigns is a mighty and enjoyable album all fans of the genre should investigate. Without igniting new areas and avenues, the album is the history to date of a band which has its own little distinct corner away from most. Powerful and inventive the tracks within the album leave nothing but satisfaction in their heavily churned up dust and thanks to Southern Lord get a deserved wider viewing.

Originally from Copenhagen, the Danish metalers first drew attention with their 2005 demo and following self titled album a year later. A line-up change ensued at this point to be followed by the well received releases of the Ceaseless Desolation and Total Annihilation 7” EPs of 2007 and 2009 respectively, both making up two thirds of the tracks on Chaos Reigns. 2010 saw a relocation to Melbourne with strong touring around the country as well as in Japan and SE Asia the year after. 2012 has already seen the release of the Blood Fire Chaos Death EP, its five new songs now completing the track list upon Chaos Reigns.

The album sets its listing out in reverse order with the songs from Blood Fire Chaos Death opening the release. This has a dual effect in that it makes the quality of the album diminish slightly as it goes but conversely highlights the quality of the music across the years as that fall is quite minimal considering the years and production levels the releases come from. The quartet of songs from their last EP steal the show to be fair, their presence a hardcore punk energy brought with a heavy intense death/crust breath. The opening Crisis immediately brings the senses into a riotous and sprawling soundscape of crippling rhythms and abrasive riffs. It is a contagious assault which ignites the senses with its latter enterprise and manipulative sonic fingerings, arguably the most appealing thing across all the songs and what sets the band apart from others. At times it can be quite subtle, maybe not a word expected to be used with an intensity like Nuclear Death Terror offer, as on the destructive Collapse and the fiery sonic Descent.  It certainly adds something extra though to spark the imagination within what can be without care a too similar consumption.

Along with the opener the biggest highlights come in Abyss again from the recent EP and the track Total Annihilation from the EP of the same name. The first is an infectious stomp through the ear, the growling bile spewing vocals riding an infectious and persistent grinding groove within the towering fury of energy and riffs. It has vehemence to its heart though which envelopes the ear with the slower twists and doomy heavy caresses. The second of the pair is a storming break neck thrash speared onslaught, unrelenting and hungry the track is a rabid corruptive brute which again twists its pace and intensity skilfully.

The likes of Devolve To Submission and World Enslaved hit the spot perfectly though all tracks leave nothing but good reactions and thoughts in their wake, even the more than decent if unadventurous cover of the Celtic Frost song Morbid Tales which closes the album. To be honest it is the latest four songs which steal top honours but in many ways that is how it should be, a band evolving and improving.

Will Chaos Reigns be in your best of year choices, most likely not but as a record of a great band to date, it and Nuclear Death Terror are a more than pleasing half hour spent, and often.

Ringmaster 03/09/2012

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