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Nuclear rage amid the ruined city. - 85%

hells_unicorn, June 20th, 2013

The concept of rage has always been inherent in metal, though it usually comes along with a number of other expressions in order to maintain a sense of musicality that ties it to its rock roots. Lately some bands have boasted the feat of distilling the rageful elements of their craft to the point of it being pure 200 proof anger. Whether this be a matter of self-congratulatory conceit or an accurate self-analysis, there is a sort of semi-official rivalry between death metal and black metal going back to the early 90s as the ultimate purveyors of vindictive fury, each sporting their own extreme fringe outfits with legitimate claims on the title. In something of an ironic yet fitting turn of events, one of the most celebrated vocal personas of the brutal death metal side of the coin has found himself on the opposite side of this divide, culminating in the recent Quebec black metal outfit Rage Nucleaire.

Lord Worm has always been an interesting personality, not only for his bizarrely inhuman vocalizations, but for the sheer versatility that comes with it. Where on his early works with Cryptopsy he was largely tied to the lower, guttural range comparable to similar outfits of the early 90s in Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse (albeit more exaggerated), here he has elected for a high-pitched, shrieking approach that is comparable in its intensity to his older death metal technique, but even more menacing and gut-wretching. At times it almost has the characteristic of the disembodied spirit of an imp screaming bloody murder at the sky in a fashion not all that dissimilar from Hat's ravings on Gorgoroth's debut, though it still retains a semblance of a brutal death metal interpretation of the style, thus it is far less intelligible and also leans a bit towards Maniac's vocals on early Mayhem efforts.

In even greater contrast to the exploits of Cryptopsy both old and new, "Unrelenting Fucking Hatred" goes the route of a song-oriented and largely conventional black metal album. The only thing untraditional about this is that the drums have a bit more of a clicking quality and a heavy emphasis on the bass drums, bearing maybe a slight similarity to Flo Mounier in the intensity department as well. Otherwise, this album is marked by a lack of technical showboating, relying on a familiar smattering of tremolo based riffs and parallel chord progressions that sit somewhere between early Emperor and middle-era Dimmu Borgir. Keyboards also play a fairly active role in shaping the texture and depth of the arrangement, resulting in an album that is both spiteful yet with a tinge of sorrow, almost as if taking measure of the cost of denying wisdom for maddening chaos before the inevitable tragedy.

While more of an exercise in tradition with only occasion or localized fits of originality, this is an album that will definitely sit well with fans of the post-3rd wave black metal scene, particularly those who have enjoyed the recent works of Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, and a few other successful bands that have largely cut ties with the extremely low-fi roots of the style. Comparisons could even be made to the early 2000s works of Lord Belial, though this comes without a lot of the traditional death metal trappings (such as wild Slayer inspired solos and thrashing, palm muted riff work alongside the streams of open melodic streams) and a consistently chaotic feel from beginning to end. Hopefully Lord Worm won't become too obsessed with his English teaching hobby and continue to contribute albums of this sort.