Nuclear Death Terror: Chaos Reigns

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Nuclear Death Terror: Chaos Reigns
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Nuclear Death Terror: Chaos Reigns
Crust Punk, Death Metal
Southern Lord Records
August 14th, 2012
Release length: 29:54
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Nuclear Death Terror has been around for a little while, but given how little the band has issued, chances are the group escaped your radar. A Crust-Punk meets Death Metal five-piece, the Copenhagan, Denmark natives issued their self-titled demo in 2005, which was met a year later by the similarly branded full-length album, as well as three EPs and a compilation. For 2012, nearly three years after their Total Annihilation EP, Southern Lord Records has obtained the rights to release a new compilation titled Chaos Reigns, which pulls ten songs from the group’s various vinyl releases, and puts them together in more of a best of sense. But, does this really capture the spirit and energy of the band, or is Chaos Reigns just a cheap ploy to get more money from their devoted fans?

For the most part, the tracks all end up having a similar sound, though you can pick up on subtle changes in volume here and there. For the most part, the songs sound a bit on the raw side of things, but still rather sharp. The guitars have a mild buzzing distortion to them common to the Punk and Hardcore styles, while the bass really does stand out well with it’s deeper Death Metal driven tone that adds a nice bluntness to the music. The drums are pretty crisp, having a some tighter snares at work just behind the click of the bass kicks, but the cymbals can vary from sounding pristine to slightly washed out. Vocally, the approach is driven more towards a guttural style that works well with the heavier material, but it’s not afraid to get a little lighter and harsher.

The eleven songs that make up the album definitely throw back to the days of bands like Napalm Death coming to existence, but without the Grindcore influences, and at times can tread into eighties Thrash territory. “Crisis” works as a great introduction to this with strong two-stepping and really punishing chords that hammer away at the listener until around the two minute mark where things simplify themselves a little more into a catchy Hardcore dance-worthy beat complete with some rebellious tones. The hostility of the guitar solo sticks oiut, being rather short but very impressive for what time it has. This is a good summary for many of the solos on the album, but sadly a few are just not as exciting. The following track, “Collapse” is a good example. It’s a much tighter and harder hitting experience than “Crisis” is, but the solo is not quite as strong. It’s a little longer, but due to notes being held as the vocals kick in over the slower material being played behind it, allowing it’s life to extended a little longer than it should have in hopes to push quantity over quality.

“Morbid Tales” packs far more intensity into it than the others seem to be allowed. One of the longer tracks, just missing the three-minute mark, the pace here is much quicker than you have heard before on this recording. The slightly raw tone works to muddy up the waters a bit and help capture the excitement in the music, and the stern, more serious vocal performance. It makes for a suitable end, but again, this isn’t really the best of what this collection has to offer. “Mindchain” really sets off some of the group’s more impressive material. Again, that catchy rebellion found on “Collapse” comes back, but the music is just richer and a lot heavier. The main passages are the typical somewhat chaotic approach that will get the listener’s blood pumping from the guitars and two-step drumming. It’s the end of the song, however, that it makes a strong lasting impression, making you want to get up and create anarchy yourself instead of listening to it on a CD. But, of all the songs, it’s “Metal Annihilation” that stands out the most. This really captures a grim Death Metal atmosphere in some of the slower passages, and finds the vocal echo and style to work wonders for it. They also happen to be a lot tighter, utilizing some layering effects, as well as having the lyrics come out rapid fire to match the tone of the song.

The only real issue that can be had with Chaos Reigns is that much of the material does sound similar. Aside the subtle differences in the audio and some crushing or dismal atmospheric passages, much of the recording finds similar speeds and lead guitar chords that are executed the same way from “Crisis” to “Morbid Tales.” In all honesty, having a little Grindcore here and there would have added a little more variety to the music, or even a breakdown on a random few songs. Thankfully, most do hold enough differing material or foundations that you can view each song as a different track, but in some cases not by much.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out Nuclear Death Terror, or have and just can’t get all the releases, then Chaos Reigns is for you. The group’s material honestly isn’t anything new, but they do a great job throwing back to the concept of mixing Death Metal with Hardcore and Grindcore, though the latter is unfortunately absent. With eleven songs taken from the band’s career, this best of makes for a great jumping on point for new listeners, giving them a crash course on the development of the band, which is surprisingly minimal outside of fine tuning and making things a little more intense. The fact that the songs all share a similar production value really makes this recording one worth getting, even as a stand-alone release. With some great choices placed on this effort, there’s no denying this is a best of release worth picking up, but if you’re tired of hearing this style of music, or just have all the vinyls already, there’s really no point to pick this up unless you’re looking for a collectable value..

01. Crisis – 3:06
02. Collapse – 3:18
03. Descent – 2:36
04. Abyss – 3:21
05. Total Annihilation – 2:11
06. Mindchain – 2:33
07. Devolve to Submission – 2:38
08. World Enslaved – 2:21
09. Chaotic Alliance – 2:22
10. The Darkest Age – 2:30
11. Morbid Tales – 2:58
Overall Score: 8/10
Nuclear Death Terror (Band)
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Digital review copy of this release provided by Southern Lord Records via Earsplit PR.