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Call me a poser if you will – and I couldn’t care less about it than for what Queen Elizabeth just had for her supper – but I’ve never really been a huge fan of bands like Blasphemy, Beherit or Von. Sure, I can listen to “Drawing Down the Moon” occasionally, but the truth is that such LPs as “Fallen Angel of Doom” or “Gods of War” do not appear in my playlist that often anymore. I guess, while I liked “Gods of War” at the time of its release, I just got tired with this album after few years and nowadays I really cannot find any reason to listen to it more than once in decade. I feel tired with the relentless noise and violence this band (I’m talking about Blasphemy now) brings forth and thus I’m also quite annoyed by most of the bands, which copy the Blasphemy and Beherit styles without any embarrassment. Unholy Archangel, Proclamation… You know them probably well. I guess there are just very few bands from this bestial black / death style, which I’m fond of (Bestial Raids, Black Witchery and Revenge for instance), the rest is just a pure dust to me and can vanish with their cloned (anti)music and boring image. And here is Nuclearhammer. A band from Canada, if you don’t know. And guess, what can they play to satisfy their sadistic hunger and to honour their Satan? Yeah, it is bestial war black / death. Again.
Even though Nuclearhammer has only just been formed back in 2005, they already have a bunch of recordings in their discography, including few rehearsal tapes (which probably are worse than you could imagine), splits and “Obliteration Ritual” is their first album. Well, Nuclearhammer has gathered eleven tracks on this outburst of hatred and when listening to it I just have one thing in my mind. And that thing is Blasphemy. The band, not the actual act of blasphemy... Nuclearhammer sounds so much like “Gods of War” that it is unbelievable and almost stupid, as this is just like a déjà vu feeling. The sound, the vocals, guitars, just everything here on “Obliteration Ritual” sounds the same to me. And if I already don’t listen to the original, why would I bore myself with a bare copy of the legendary band? Luckily, Nuclearhammer is not so bad, speaking of the quality of their music. First of all, I’m glad that they’ve tried to diverse their album as much as possible, within this raw, disgusting and primitive genre and so “Obliteration Ritual” is not just 50 minutes (and that’s how long this album is!) of pure noise played in very fast tempos, but there are many slow parts also, almost doomy ones, which I like most from the whole CD… and there are also many intros, few of which were taken from some old horror movies, so in the end this album turns out to be quite interesting listening (actually those intros play the same significant role in creating the mood as those on “Gods of War”). It is the atmosphere of “Obliteration Ritual”, which attracts me most. This music is really evil, obscure and sinister as hell, bringing a lot of negative emotions and even if this sort of metal is generally raw, filthy and primitive, then it doesn’t really work against Nuclearhammer, as they managed to put a decent effort here. Sure, I’m still far from hailing those Canadians for delivering the most bestial and cruel piece of metal ever and I can sincerely say that I like dozens of bands more, but for someone, who’s not really into this sort of musical violence, then I can admit “Obliteration Ritual” has its moments and I cannot imagine someone, who’s into this style not to like what Nuclearhammer has been doing for the past few years.
The album has been already released in 2009, so I got it pretty late; I don’t even know the label (Morbid Moon) so much, so I cannot say whether and where this CD is available. Blasphemy maniacs should get it anyway.
I first heard of Ontario’s Nuclearhammer through a split with Antediluvian and Light Am I. Although that material was rather raw, it was enough to keep Nuclearhammer’s name in my head. Fast forward a couple years, and here we have the band’s debut, “Obliteration Ritual”. As one would expect due to the name and image, the music here is a bestial blend of death, black and war metal. Nuclearhammer delivers their savage brand of metal with true conviction, which makes them fit in perfectly with many other fellow Canadian hordes that have forged their name in the extreme metal scene.
If you were to imagine the war-like barrage that bands like Revenge/Conqueror play, and the bizarre nuances that make Lust so unique, Nuclearhammer would fit right in between. The riffs are pretty primitive, and the song structures generally fairly straight forward – I sense a huge influence from bands not only like Blasphemy, but the classic grind bands like Napalm Death, Terrorizer, and Repulsion. Check out the song “Witchfuck”, and you’ll know exactly what I’m getting at. The drums are pounding, much like being trampled under goat hooves. The solos are noisy and atonal. Just when it seems like you’ve figured out what Nuclearhammer is about; they’ll throw something weird into the mix.
There are some odd effects utilized throughout this recording. Check out “Dementia”, just on the vocals in the intro, there are odd whispers, groans, covered in reverb and delay. This is where I hear the Lust influence. This breaks up the faster chaotic parts quite nicely, and at the same time contributes to the overall maniac feel of this record. These parts can be found on several different tunes, and manage to act as hooks within themselves, as well as add a nice texture to everything. "The Ancient One" is probably the weirdest interlude on "Obliteration Ritual", so pay close attention to that track.
Nuclearhammer is definitely deserving of all and any credit they get. I think that if the band keeps up their hard work and continues to play music this chaotic and barbaric, their name will be a staple next to other fellow Canadian acts when it comes black/death metal. I certainly have no problem recommending this to any war metal fan, or anyone that just wants to hear a quality band from the East part of Canada that can give the West a run for its money.