NunSlaughter: Burn the Cross (2014 Reissue)

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NunSlaughter: Burn the Cross (2014 Reissue)
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NunSlaughter: Burn the Cross
Death Metal
Hells Headbangers
August 13th, 2004 / December 29th, 2014
Release length: 812
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2014 has been an insanely busy year for the Cleveland, Ohio based Death Metal trio NunSlaughter, having seventeen new releases drop including their latest full-length Angelic Dread. Among this cluster includes the recent splits with Perversor and Witchtrap. But, to wrap up this new year, NunSlaughter and Hells Headbangers dive into the archives and present a re-issue of the 2004 seven-inch EP Burn the Cross as a limited edition picture disc, the eleventh release of thirteen to be issued by the band that year. But is this basic reissue worth the money, or are new listeners and loyalists better left scrambling for the original pressing?

The recording itself clocks in at just over eight minutes of vintage NunSlaughter across four songs, two of which are different versions of the title track. Things kick off with the version of “Burn the Cross” that features Don of the Dead on vocals, who also wrote the lyrics. It’s heavy, fast, and as aggressive as it is crisp. Tight guitars and punishing drums line an enthusiastic performance Exhumed fans would wet themselves over. There is some subtle melody to be found within the madness, but mostly infectious grooves and Goregrind inensity, complimented by raspy vocals that sound as happy to be recording as the rest of the group. But then there’s the version with Jam Sadist, the band’s drummer, on vocals, which is actually a noticeably different beast. The lyrics have been changed, the start is far more explosive, and its heavier on the gutturals with the rasps acting as support instead of the other way around. While pretty much the same musically, here doesn’t seem to be the same amount of energy linked to the change off in vocal approach. It’s unfortunate, but still ends up a solid alternate take none the less.

The other two songs are completely different compositions. First is the slower “Ride My Nightmare”, a mixture of slower chugging and mid-tempo material that sounds dirty and horrific with matching growls, all on par with early reformed Necrophagia. And then there’s “All of the Dead”. The high speed music often increases to blast beats and Grindcore elements that come into play a lot more later on. But it’s the grim hooks that appear in some spots, like around the very end, that remind the listener of the Horror atmosphere the NunSlaughter can, and has incorporated into their material.


The 2014 reissue of Burn the Cross really isn’t any different other than it comes in the form of a picture disc, which is pretty impressive. This isn’t just a cheap cop-out of slapping the basic artwork of the original’s packaging on both sides, or on just one with a generic band picture on the other. This is some high grade professional photography, more then likely from around the time the EP was recorded. Upside-down crosses, one on fire on the b-side of the pressing, the band lit by the red and orange hues of pyre, and on the reverse side the track listing slightly hidden by the plume of smoke and rising embers make up the hellish imagery that perfectly sums up this recording, as well as what NunSlaughter strives for musically.


When it comes to NunSlaughter‘s discography, Burn the Cross is easily one of their best, as well as most enthusiastic. You can just tell the trio a the time was having a blast while recording, something their more recent versions don’t quite have, more than likely thanks to evrything being far more digital nowadays. With ten years having past, it’s great to see this recording made available again for those who might have missed out. Granted an additional song would have been nice if time permitted, but the stunning artwork that adorns this picture disc more than makes up for it. But, other than that, it is just a bare bones repressing, so if you own the original 2004 version, there’s no real need to get it again unless you’re a die hard fan, collector, or just think picture vinyl kick ass (which in this case it definitely does). Fans of Death Metal should really check out Burn the Cross, a release of furiously heavy Death Metal, and now that it’s available once more for the first time in about ten years, there’s really no excuse to pass it up.


Side A:
01. Burn the Cross (Don of the Dead vocals and lyrics) – 1:55
02. Ride My Nightmare – 2:21

Side B:
03. Burn the Cross (Jim Sadist vocals) – 1:56
04. All of the Dead – 2:00

Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

2014 Reissue Score: 8/10

NunSlaughter
NunSlaughter

Digital review copy of this release provided by Hells Headbangers Records.