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The same old dogma with a new gasmask - 70%

autothrall, July 4th, 2010

The recent trend to revive and attempt to revitalize the ailing sounds of 80s thrash metal is not strictly the work of angst ridden US party teens with nothing better to do than rebel against their school mates, families, and modern metal, or wave their dicks at one another over their latest vinyl sweep of the eBay auctions. It is actually a multi-pronged, worldwide attack which also spans Asia, Europe, and South America, who have got loads of these bands around. The Chilean Nuclear has been at it for a few years now, forming back in 1998, with a pair of independently issued albums already under their belts. For Jehovirus, the band has been picked up by a small label, and this is their best chance to strike yet.

As much as I'd like to simply write off Nuclear as another aimless wannabe, I cannot, because they actually do place a pretty well tempered steel behind their actions, a reasonable grasp of songwriting principles. This album is not simply a bunch of beer-swilling Exodus worship with no identity of its own, but follows a little more closely along the lines of Germans Kreator, due to the similarity in Matías Leovicio's vocals to Mille, with a little Jeff Becera or Tom Araya thrown in for good measure. Musically, though, they draw a heavy influence from Slayer and Metallica, if you mixed in an array of dirty German speed/thrash like Sodom or Kreator. You also won't find any songs here with 'thrash' in the title, or to my knowledge about the art of partying, beer and being a generic sod.

Nope, Nuclear hope to revive the intent of thrash music, which is perform serious and pissed off metal music at high speeds with muted, punchy patterns of lethality. As I'm wringing my neck out to "Asphyxia", "The One We Must Kill", or "Belligerence", I feel that I've arrived to the last station on the line where Extreme Aggression and Reign of Blood mix freely, where the spirit of my headbanging teen years is nearly as vital as it was before my innocence was defiled by wine and women, taxes and college education, enlightenment and disappointment. The band can spit out a melody just as much as a blunt force here, and soon Jehovirus becomes much more than a mindless slaughter, but a tribute to their gods that the listener might actually want to shake a fist to. They've also got some slower, denser material like "Criminal Solicitation" which recalled the more mechanical, underrated side of Kreator (the album Renewal), and this was likewise a pretty welcome change of pace, though the song also picks up to a moderately fast pace.

Nuclear are not necessarily an inventive band, but you'll find the material entertaining enough to place in the same sphere as an Evile, a Gama Bomb or a Warbringer. I rather liked the sincere, boxy tones of the guitar work on the album, and the production is thankfully nothing too polished or machine-like, though it lacks some of the reverb of the 80s influences. If you've ever wanted to hear a South American band playing in the vein of classics like "Betrayer", "Damage Inc.", or "Criminally Insane", then you've come to the right place, so prepare for your atoms to go nuclear, even if the blast only lasts for a brief time against the long-term memory.