Nucleus Torn: Travellers

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Nucleus Torn: Travellers
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Nucleus Torn: Travellers
Avante-Garde, Folk Metal
Prophecy Productions
January 11th, 2011
Release length: 1:07:18
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The Avante-Garde Folk Metal act Nucleur Torn return with this special compilation album, Travellers, which collects some of the band’s earlier work, as well as two never before released tracks, including the Silver and Krähenkönigin EPs, as well as the bands Submission demo. This Switzerland-born act formed back in 1997, and make this collection of earlier, hard to find material available for the newer fans, and present the material remastered for a much higher quality, which is great considering that these earlier recordings were more like demo material recorded and later released in limited commodities when it was simply a one man project of Fredy Schnyder, who handles most of the instruments for the band. With Prophecy Productions using this release as more of a stepping stone for possible newer fans to understand the band’s history prior to the group’s third full-length album, Andromeda Awaiting, it’s obvious the group has some noble roots indeed that seem to stick to a very niche group.

This compilation is essentially broken up into four different parts, which spans a total time span of just over sixty eight minutes in length. The first section is the Krähenkönigin EP, which gathers this four part acoustic folk piece. The production on this sounds nice, catching every little detail of the acoustic guitar and it’s being played, including moving from riff to riff, and every little knick that happens during the performance. The very open recording quality gives the release a very easy, laid back feeling that fits nicely into a Folk atmosphere, and the vocals present a matching softness that works well for these four tracks, sticking to a strictly instrumental approach that is simply beautiful. There isn’t much that can be said about this cluster of tracks since they’re so basic, but they really shine nicely on this recording as fantastic acoustic Folk music, and shows exactly why they make up the start of this release, though the next four tracks from the Silver EP did come first by three years.

These four tracks that make up the Silver EP sound fantastic, especially given the reports of the lower quality recording that seem to linger around with this effort, and even the Krähenkönigin EP. However, unlike the first set, these tracks aren’t full blown acoustic tracks, and can often seem to derail from a Folk experience. “Leadless”, in fact, sounds more like a mixture of Jazz and Caribbean music with a real upbeat tempo that really seems to only stick to the Folk concept through various small things like more Folk-familiar music from a violin, as well as in the chords of the acoustic guitar. This really the only track that feels off, as the rest of the tracks seem to bring things back to a more Folk feeling, sometimes coming off as a strictly atmospheric fantastical feel, or going off into some kind of festival-sounding approach to the music, without really getting too into the Avante-Garde approach most of the time like the band did for “Leadless”, as well as appears during “Neonlight Submission” when the song goes from an acoustic piece to a more traditional electric guitar fused track. Of course, “Beggar” brings the material to a slow pace that is musically beautiful, and have a good vocal performance, but the effort suffers from the vocals sounding off pitch with the music, being a little to higher a pitch then what the music seems to call for, as well as a little nasally.

However, the vocals seem to be one thing corrected for the band’s demo, Submission, which makes up the next two tracks. These tracks really do stray from the original Avante-Garde approach, and are clearly more along the lines of the acoustic tracks from Krähenkönigin, acting as a clear foundation for that release. The acoustic guitars here are fantastic, and the vocals are more on pitch with the music, and are a little more energetic and powerful. There are accompanying instruments involved, such as drums, but often quite light and really take on the role of supporting instruments, never overdoing the acoustic guitar until the acoustics turn into electric, though these are scattered moments throughout the nine and a half minute opus track that bleeds into the instrumental track “Silver”, which is a very nice acoustic piece on par with the Krähenkönigin recordings.

Finally, we come to the last two tracks on the recording, which are the newly recorded additions to this compilation. “Traveller’s Rest” shows a much more maturity in the material then the rest of the album, having a solid mixture of Folk influences in a slightly Avante-Garde style, again being an acoustic piece with accompanying drums and keyboards. Much like “Nucleus Torn”, the material present manages to stay fresh from start to finish, though it doesn’t jump between acoustic and electric segments. The final track, “Witness” is a much slower track is enjoyable, but just doesn’t quite have that same impact as the rest of the material, coming off a little bland with vocals that, again, seem a little off pitch for the recording until the electric segment comes in and there’s a little more energy in the vocals that give them a little more of a kick, though sometimes they can border on a Metallica influenced approach.

Travellers makes a nice piece for collectors due to the nicer production quality on the material, but also gives the new listeners of the band a quick crash course int he band’s past, as well as a sample of the group’s recent, more mature sound. While it’s not technically Metal, though there are some moments that do bring in that kind of heaviness to the Folk atmosphere of the recording, the release features some fantastic and beautiful recordings from the band’s past, but it does have some drawbacks including off-tone vocals and, sometimes, a lack of emotional pull to go with the beautiful atmosphere of the recordings. If you’re not a fan of music with a heavy Folk feel, taking on the concept more of being performed by a minstrel with an acoustic guitar then anything else, then chances are this is not a release you’ll enjoy. While it’s not the most Avante-Garde release one would come across, having that influence often being subtle in the music, it’s still an interesting piece of work that brings beauty to the forefront of the music.

01. Krähenkönigin I – 5:42
02. Krähenkönigin II – 4:31
03. Krähenkönigin III – 5:25
04. Krähenkönigin IV – 8:10
05. Silver – 2:35
06. Witness – 3:46
07. Beggar – 4:39
08. Nucleus Torn – 9:29
09. Neon-Light Submission – 5:36
10. Traveller’s Rest – 7:24
11. Leadless – 4:30
12. Lurking – 5:31
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Prophecy Productions.