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Rage Nucléaire’s Unrelenting F*cking Hatred Portends Interesting Things to Come

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It’s one thing for a metal band to express hatred, but it’s another for them to actually seem to hate you. So kids, before you play Rage Nucléaire’s Unrelenting Fucking Hatred, get the facts straight.

The guitars are at least 85% static. The keyboards are of the gloomy-goth, monastic variety, and they are given a place of prominence and honor in the mix. The drums sound programmed but somehow grit covered, like someone reached inside the protools track to wipe their hands after burying your dog. You should also know the snare drum may have been salvaged from a Scandinavian trashcan in the mid-90s, and at times it sounds as if it may in fact be a Scandinavian trashcan.

There are vocals too, and they do little to soften one of the weirdest, most distinctive, and abrasive debuts this year. Former Crytopsy frontman Lord Worm howls like a banshee, an actual banshee, not just a “this guy has got pipes” banshee. The banshee sometimes gives way to a second mode of singing for Mr. Worm, which I’ll call “gurgling robot demon voice mode.” Sometimes he goes into water-roboto without reference to or respect for the grid of counted time that binds rhythm and melody, and makes what many take to be called “music,” because in French Canada, such respect is trivial, trivial as the bass I’m not sure exists at all on this album.

Even Rage Nucléaire has to write songs. Some, like opener “Violence is Golden,” have an epic, questing vibe, a Norwegian-meth-LARP fantasy that is pretty effective at adding purpose to the abrasive buzz of the production. Others, like “Fields of the Crucified,” manage some sort of poignant, ringing melodic base that is dangerously close to being thoughtful. The lows of songery can be pretty low, indeed, and “Hunt with Murderworms, Sculpt,” sounds like AM radio Castlevania (on meth).

Where la rage comes from for Rage Nucléaire seems more of a concern for psychologists than music reviewers. It appears to be directed at listeners to a certain extent, but the main victim here is nuance, which for extreme metal, black metal, or whatever, is saying something. From the abrupt fadeouts to the samples (German speeches, barnyard animals) to the title, this album conceals nothing. The re-interpretation of 90s keyboard black metal like Satyricon, Emperor, and a lot of harder to pronounce bands is interesting even when songs fall short. What were restraints for 90s black metal bands (recording in an ice hut on a hand crank two track, crappy guitars, etc.) are reconstituted on Unrelenting Fucking Hatred as creative choices, and for its many bits to quibble with, these songs could not be written by cowards. This album might be a mess, but it could be a template for interesting things to come.

Rage Nucléaire’s Unrelenting Fucking Hatred comes out November 6 on Season of Mist. You can listen to the track “Hunt with Murderworms, Sculpt with Flies” here, and pre-order the album here.

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