To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Minnesota-based act Nuklear Frost released their first full album, Subjugation, which clocks just over half an hour. The seven-tracker was mixed and mastered by Maxwell Thomas Karon, who was responsible for the final result as well for releases from bands like Scordatura, Astral Blood, Mouth Of The Serpent or Adora Vivos too.
Anyway, this older release (but as mentioned a 666 times before, I do never mind reviewing something that is ‘aged’, aha…), called Subjugation, opens with the intro Uranium Censer, but it’s not a synth-based orchestration, like so many intros are. It’s an instrumental piece of obscure and doomy elegance, with many levels and structural elements, and therefore quite promising for what’s next to come. And believe me: there is much more interesting stuff to come up next. After that introduction, Theist Holocaust acts like an audible whirlwind, a sonic maelstrom of speed-up intension and barbaric blasphemy. The riffing is both harsh / fast and melodious, without exaggeration yet with a fine equilibrium in between both angles. On top of it, there is the presence of many changes in tempo (with both slow and fast parts involved, and everything in between), splendid vocals (mainly blackened screams, evidently, as well as some brutal, throaty grunts), a harsh, hammering rhythm section (grandiose drum patterns and fabulous bass lines), and a right-in-the-ugly-face attitude in performance.
The sound quality too satisfies my sensitive eardrums: somewhat raw and unpolished, yet not under-produced, with inclusion of a nice-balanced mix. For this kind of Black Fury Metal, this is the only appropriate production possible. It spices the whole with a warlike, vengeful and victorious attitude, which increases the intensity of this whole sonic march. Also the calmer parts sort of ‘shine’ (the nuclear-enlightened way) because of the fine sound quality.
Note: those who are looking for originality, once again, must skip this stuff. Nuklear Frost’s Black Metal is not renewing the scene. It’s rather inspired by the random existence of the North-American scene, though the Swedish and Finnish ones might surely come to mind as well. But seen the high quality of certain pieces / excerpts (cf. a doomy introduction for skull-smasher Become Death, a track that also includes a grandiose semi-divine / esoteric finale), and seen the narrow-minded ideas of trying to be ‘renewing’, I do not give a f*cking f*ck about the lack of originality. In a way, this quartet comes with an own face, an own approach, an own sound, based on existing constellations, but with a professional execution, and that’s what counts in the first place, I think.