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Intergalactic War Metal - 95%

Slater922, June 9th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Nuclear War Now! Productions

When it comes to war metal, Nuclearhammer is a band that gets left out in the conversation, even though their music has been on-par with bands like Blasphemy and Diocletian. Their 2009 debut "Obliteration Ritual" was good, but wasn't anything to write home about when compared to other far better albums of that year. 5 years later, the band would release their second album titled "Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer", and they took a far different approach on this one. Not only does this album improve on the qualities of the previous one, but SHL would stand out in its own way musically and stylistically.

One major improvement of SHL would be in the instruments. The instruments in Obliteration Ritual were good, but SHL would raise the bar in how the instruments played. The guitars play some more chaotic riffs that are filled with noise and unconventional composition, and it works amazingly well. The drums also contain nothing but blastbeats and technical beat patterns, and they would enhance the atmosphere of the track with each beat style. The bass is also audible in many parts of the track, and stands out from the guitars with their own bass work. There are also some ambient tracks sprinkled into the album like "24-Cell (Octoplex)", and the droning noises and dark synths would create a haunting spatial atmosphere, and they would also work as a good transition in-between the songs. One of my favorite instruments would be in the track "Phosphorus Clouds Descend on Mecca". The song starts off with a slow drum beat followed by the guitars playing doom-like riffs. This slow-paced intro is great in bringing in anticipation in the track, so when the rest of the instruments explode in chaos, it makes the payoff feel more satisfying. Other great instrumentals would be in "Nuclearhammer", "Multi-Dimensional Prism of Black Hatred", and "Subhumannihilation". The instrumentals on this album are stellar, and are a huge improvement from the previous album.

Another great thing about SHL would be with the vocals. The vocals in Obliteration Ritual weren't that good, but here, they sound a lot better. Axaazaroth continues to do the main vocals, and he also recruited Doomhammer and Impugnor to do them, and they sound great here. The vocals contain nothing but deep growls and raging shrieks, and they work well in enhancing the tone of the tracks. This is especially true in the track "Nuclearhammer", where the screaming chants give the track a more beastly sound, and Impugnor's backing vocals further executes the off-putting sound of the guitars with his belching. Throughout the album, the agonizing growls and shrieks of the vocals would further intensify the severity of the tracks, and they would contain a lot more emotion than in the previous album.

Even the lyrics are improved upon. The previous album had some okay lyrics, but the lyrics here are written a lot better. For example, in the track "Cosmic Atomic Hypnosis", this verse quotes:

Eruptions from below
Cosmic vortex now overthrow
Demonic spheres of infernal Luciferian hate
Immortal elevation of an altered state

This verse goes into detail about a war in space. The lyrics here deal with themes of hell and the occult in space, and they are written well with its descriptions of space. Not only that, but these lyrics would reflect the tracks well. The atmosphere of this specific track has a space tone in it, and followed by the inhumane screams of the vocals, they give the lyrics a more unearthly tone in the song. These space-like themes would give this album an unique style in the lyrics, and these lyrics work well with the instruments it's mixed in.

Overall, I had a more enjoyable experience with SHL than in the previous album. The instruments have a lot more going for them, the vocals sound more brutal and intense, and the lyrical themes of space makes them stand out in the war metal discography. The band hasn't released much since then, and it's unknown when they're going to release a new album. Until then, "Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer" is an album I highly recommend if you want some intergalactic themes in war metal.