Release DetailsLABEL Hells Headbangers
RELEASED ON 6/17/2007
posted on 11/2007 By:
Releasing 86 different pieces of vinyl and plastic since their inception in 1987, Nunslaughter are a band that’s not about to let another year go by without a little something. 2007 sees not just another myriad of releases from the band, but a new full-length studio album entitled Hex. It’s been four years since their last full album, 2003’s Goat, and to say I’ve been rather aggravated with the 40 something live albums, compilations, splits, and EPs in between is to be kind. I simply don’t have the money or time to track down 10 Nunslaughter releases a year, many of which having extremely limited pressings, and while it’s certainly not mandatory to keep up with a Nunslaughter catalogue outside of full-lengths, it certainly wouldn’t hurt as some songs on Hex have been released previously (album closer, “Power of Darkness” has been recorded for splits and live releases I don’t know how many times since 1995).
So what’s up with Hex? Well, Nunslaughter isn’t exactly a band that’s about to start “progressing”, “maturing”, or “experimenting”. There’s no room for technicality, dive bomb solos (come to think of it, are there even solos?), breakdowns, grind or anything else the modern death metal movement has to offer. Nunslaughter is a band that’s playing death metal as it was invented: simple, catchy, and with a passion that few can seem to muster. Keeping with that mentality Nunslaughter aren’t about to start recording with Erik Rutan, Neil Kernon, or any other big name producer, nor are they heading to the big name studios. The production on Hex is dirty, the playing even somewhat sloppy, while the drums are natural (no typewriter bass drums here folks), the guitars are thick like molasses, and the vocals are demonic, yet easily understandable. One gripe that I do have is that the vocals take up far too much space in the mix and tend to push the rest of the music to the background in some areas, which is a great disservice as Nunslaughter's charm is found in the guitar riffs as well as the interplay between all the instruments.
Nunslaughter aren’t about to create any epic songs either, the song lengths rarely rise above two minutes (only five of the seventeen receive that honour) and never go beyond three minutes. The point is to beat one over the head with big riffs, an insane amount of aggression, and get the hell out before the charm wears off. It’s an effective strategy; songs and riffs don’t have time to become boring, and the album is over in just 30 minutes, leaving one with ample time to hit the repeat button and do it all over again.
The opening “This is Fucking War” thrashes forth and sets the tone for the album, yet it’s the following song, “I Hate Christians”, that truly defines what this album is about. The anger and aggression, the speed (even some blast beats), the use of dynamics, and a crushing bridge melded together to create an interesting minute and a half ride that while definitely extreme, is undeniable in its ability to tunnel its way into the listener’s head. The band can be as extreme, blasphemous, and old school as they want to be, yet they have a very traditional sense of keeping things simple and enticing. A song like “Hex,” with its opening ritual-styled vocal/drum combo, instantly has an identifiable rhythm that is only brought to another level when the mid-paced thrash influenced guitar riff comes in. Yet a song like “Unbaptized” brings a larger sense of rock groove to the band’s repertoire. The song sets a nodding pace and does a good job of playing with it before picking things up later in the song.
Nunslaughter are a band that does not leave their message hidden, especially with songs like “I Hate Christians”, “Unbaptized”, “Smell the Burning Churches”, “Slaughter the Heavens”, “No Place for the Cross” etc. While the message may come across as rather childish and one dimensional in execution it doesn’t come off as insincere as a band like Deicide. Nunslaughter does have a tendency to deliver their message with tongue planted firmly in cheek, especially if you delve deeper into their discography (2001's live offering, Radio Damnation, being a prime example).
What makes Nunslaughter's music work is the band's unstated motto of keeping things as simple as possible while staying true to the roots of death metal. It’s rather unfortunate that Nunslaughter are one of the few bands that aren’t caught up in being the fastest, the most brutal, the most technical, or even the heaviest, because when those superficial ideas of what death metal is get tossed aside it becomes evident that there’s more freedom to come up with some truly face stomping death metal.
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