Random Earworms II – Nucleus “Entity”

8 min read

Welcome to the second installment of our #RandomEarworms segment, where the Blessed Altar writers each listen to an album and give their two cents on the situation. Let’s see what we all have to think about NUCLEUS and their release “Entity” from 2019. Opinions are like pinch harmonics in metal songs, everybody’s got ‘em.

Hope everyone likes death metal… enjoy your Sunday!

Metal Yeti

Band: Nucleus
Title: Entity
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Release date: June 14, 2019
Country: USA


Metal Yeti

NUCLEUS is a band whose stunning artwork instantly caught my attention. Reminding me of the Vektor cover art, there’s something about a mossy spaceship that really makes me want to love this band. They play a blend of old school and contemporary death metal with a progressive flair that works to introduce thick chuggy doomy portions and other experimental elements. read more

The galaxy is a wild place and NUCLEUS knows this. This album is full of wicked stand out bass guitar and solo work in the mix of eviscerating and crushing madness. My favourite tracks on the album were “Entity” and “Uplift” together and also “Outpost” and “Dominion”. All these tracks offer up a lot of variety, from knuckle dragging death to more contemporary death metal structures, but they always keep their foot on the throat. Overall these guys are not reinventing the wheel on this one but they are definitely a band that should not be overlooked. “Entity” is well worth your time!

Tom’s Reaction

My immediate thoughts when I hear this music are of the great Finnish Death Metal band DEMILICH. This is very, very DEMILICH. There’s that familiar rubbery, lurching feel, like KING CRIMSON gobbled some peyote, then got eaten and shat out by a Death Metal Ogre. The psychedelic turd then sprouted mushrooms, which grew limbs and from these limbs emerged musical instruments, grown with the express purpose of playing monstrous Metal. read more

Guitar lines seesaw back and forth, as though flailing over an unstable floor of ice, but they never lose control; the drums do everything you expect of a sick, lumbering, Death Metal beast, pounding and hammering and blasting away; vocals seemingly captured by lowering a microphone down into the abyss and waiting for the monolithic, pagan toad god to rumble out its message from the depths. I should note that the band also has a taste for sci-fi themes, evident in the cover art and the track titles. So maybe I should have gone for techno-cyborg-toad swallowing a dying sun and belching out the noxious gas.

In any case this is great stuff; big and beastly, growling and pounding, Death Metal done right. Two thumbs up. Me like.

The Key Keeper’s reaction

NUCLEUS… Thank you for the reco Metal Yeti. If wasn’t you, for sure this band will pass me by. What I did find while listening to this Death Metal band? The first release was in 2012, a single. one demo, two EP, one album, after that one split with MACABRA (USA/Belgium), another EP and finally the album that I’m writing a few lines.   read more

This is a Sci-Fi Death Metal album that mixes the old school with some progressive or avant-garde elements on the songs. The mix is very well achieved in my opinion even if it is not beach, or my cup of tea. It’s a strong album, and the listening was really good, to be honest. Now I’m curious to see if the future album will be in the same quality of this one or if the band manage to surprise me with much more quality.

Goth Mark’s reaction

Hmmmm…Another day, another death metal release that has apparently escaped me from last year. Before you even play anything and have a brief look at what they’re about, the album cover immediately harks back to the late 1980s and has the listener thinking “Ah cool, this will be like NOCTURNUS or something. read more

Look at that ‘sick’ artwork that looks like it came from mid 1980s Maplin electronics catalogues that my late Granddad used to own, whilst he ordered parts to make his ‘Time Machine’. Which turned out to be a Heathkit shortwave radio according to a quick eBay search, and god knows what we’ll do with his Ford Sierra covered in 2 inches of dust in the garage that we can’t find the keys for, last taxed and MOT’d in 1998….”

Oh, sorry. Where were we? Ah yes, this band called NUCLEUS. Well, interesting artwork does not a good band make; to be honest, it’s death metal by numbers that has been heard a million times before, and done better. As other members of the team have already pointed out, it’s DEMLICH and ANDRAMELECH  thrown into a blender with some typically American technical death metal elements like NOCTURNUS thrown into the mix, not forgetting for some strange reason GORGUTS. The mixing of the album is typically early Roadrunner-esque; not terribly “hi-fi” but many bands make a very lucrative life being “anti-fi” (look at how bleak BURZUM are production wise, and extreme metal fans can’t get enough of that sort of thing). It’s not all bad news, of course. Tracks such as “Approach” are rather crushing and lull the listener into a cosy nostalgic feeling of when they first got into extreme metal all those decades ago; when the earth was younger, your hair wasn’t grey, and the Internet was just a thing discussed a lot in computer magazines, and on Tomorrow’s World broadcast on BBC 1 on a Wednesday evening. To summarise, a competent bunch of American lads that do a decent blend of death metal, but in the long term the longevity of their output remains to be seen in a quick fix world of overwhelming choice via a couple of key strokes and mouse clicks.

Proua Metallist’s reaction

Today with this new instalment of ‘Random Earworms’ we have yet another band that I’ve not been exposed to prior to this mini-review series, NUCLEUS. A brief background check tells us that NUCLEUS are a sci-fi death metal quartet from Chicago who formed eight years ago, and their latest release “Entity” is their second full-length album.

OK, so now down to business. Before I even hit play, I have to say that I was struck by the bright, textured science-fiction themed artwork on the album cover. It turns out that the artist is Adam Burke, who has a large body of work and is responsible for creating over a hundred pieces of cover art for bands from Angel Witch, to Sólstafir. read more

The album opens with “The Arrival”, which wastes no time in establishing the mood, and I very quickly realise that I’m in for a ride, as it seems, on a large death metal spacecraft hurtling through the depths of space (possibly with a few too many captains on the bridge – read on).

NUCLEUS offer a sound that is undoubtedly death metal but with a few peculiar twists. Their style features traditional elements of the sub-genre but is also quite progressive, with a technical feel. The musicianship throughout the album is at the highest echelon and the band works together with true precision. Each track includes a number of transitions and changes in tempo and tone, a format which compliments the sci-fi theme and adds to the futuristic, unearthly feel to the work. At times this constant changing of pace is exciting, but to be honest, after a while the mosaic of sound felt patchy and by the end of the album it was all a bit of blur. I found that one track blended into the next and before I knew it, I was thrown off-orbit and had lost track of where I was on the album. On my second and third play-through I did warm to the band’s unique style, however in the end this format turned out to be too much for me and caused a bit of a sensory overload (which says more about me than anything else).

If you are the type of metalhead who enjoys progressive styles and amazing technical ability then “Entity” is for you. Overall, it’s a high quality release with outstanding production by a band of insanely talented musicians. I may have taken a life pod and ejected myself off the NUCLEUS ship, however I imagine that there are many more scrambling to jump aboard. This metal beast will no doubt forge ahead, navigating the vast stretches of death metal space, to explore new horizons and successfully carve a path all of it’s own.

Jammerfall’s reaction

First of all… this album is kick ass!!!!
From the cover artwork, that was the first thing I´ve looked to the spectacular production,
this record monopolizes everything good that has to have a sci-fi death metal record.
After listening to the Blood Incantation masterpiece at the end of last year, I did not expect to meet his younger brother and be able to say at least a few words. read more

I’m getting late to this article and I could barely give this job two listens but, wow, it was worth it.
This work tips a drum beating with a wild and devastating rhythm section. The guitars do a spectacular job and the dark voices grant a dark, spatial and imposing science fiction landscape.
38 minutes of killer riffs that rip your skin. This is on another level. 9/10 for me.

Julia Katrin’s reaction

So this week we have a peculiar Earworm going on. Last year NUCLEUS released its second full-length album titled “Entity”, and just like any good citizen, I took the time to sit down and give it a go. read more

At first I was intrigued by the sound they had going on. The intro track “Arrival” brought forth a fascinating sound that I found quite unusual in Death Metal, however as the tracks went on it went in the direction of the more traditional black metal path. It was a fair strategy, offering something different and interesting to lure the listener in, and once you have started you really do have to finish it. Anything else is just illogical. And after all, the tracks do intertwine rather well with each other.

It’s honestly quite neatly folded sci-fi Death Metal, although what I found a bit unsettling was when I found a part of each track I really liked but then that beat vanished as quickly as it appeared. It’s almost as if these guys had million great ideas which they then proceeded to try and squeeze into about 38 and a half minutes.
Out of the eight tracks on this record I have to give a slight edge to the already mentioned opening track, due to the unusual lure it has in the beginning. Like an alien space ship landing on earth.

Truly Yours,
Blessed Altar Zine Team

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