Nuclearhammer - Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer
Nuclear War Now! Productions
Death metal
13 songs (44:26)
Release year: 2014
Nuclear War Now! Productions
Reviewed by Charles
Nuclearhammer are a Canadian death metal band drawn from the same foreboding and unilluminated crannies as the likes of Antediluvian or Adversarial (indeed they share members with the latter and one of the former drew their logo). We are talking here about extremely dense, almost abstract amalgamations of death and even grind, aiming for slavering oppression of the listener, over and above things like distinguishable riffs, or tunes, or any of that old shite. To add to the sense of disorientation, the album is structured in a highly ungainly manner: bookended by grimy epics, but strewn throughout with very short (sub-one minute) blurts (e.g. tracks two, three, four, six, eight, eleven, twelve…).

So the first thing we encounter is Multi-Dimensional Prism of Black Hatred. This is relentless: an impenetrably thick and abrasive mesh of uninterrupted blasting, above which strangled lead guitar solos and thuggish, rhythmically primitive vocal lines strain for primacy. This combination of extreme abrasion and hypnotic repetition also reminds me somewhat of Portal. But as soon as this particular slog finishes, we get a series of weird fragments- electronic noise, followed by a blasting section which has the brutal concision of a grind band, followed by more electronic noise. The next ‘proper’ track is called Nuclearhammer, which I guess must be some kind of band manifesto: a violently contorted tirade in which Axaazaroth’s drums, in particular, reach such intensity it feels like they want to burst forth from the speakers to physically pound the listener’s ears into bloody lumps attached uselessly to the side of his or her head. At least this would provide some relief. Then more droning noise (the latter fragments keep coming back, getting a bit more distorted each time, serving as, I suppose, a sort of structuring device for the album).

And this hopefully gives you a feel for Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer. It is a simple album, which, it has to be said, does not really “take the listener on a journey” (to invoke what I imagine to be creative writing course jargon). Despite my remark at the end of the last paragraph, there is not much sense of structure: instead you are forced into their brutal washing machine of horror and left there for a full cycle, your ears filling with a chaotic splurge of hot liquid interrupted occasionally by short periods of electric humming. There are some slow bits- such as the middle of closer Cosmic Atomic Hypnosis, but these feel like breathers rather than ideas presented for their own sake, and almost detract from the sheer bloody single-minded horridness of the album.

Killing Songs :
Nuclearhammer, Cosmic Atomic Hypnosis
Charles quoted 75 / 100
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