The Spice Must Flow

April 15, 2016


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Oh hai there...another awesome band from my hometown of Chicago, IL.  Except this time instead of blackened sludge, it's some highly technical science fiction progressive death metal.    Sentient's favorite topics include not mayhem and murder, but Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clarke and Frank Herbert.  No complaints here, the spice must flow...

Much like Gigan, Nucleus play a chaotic stream of almost psychodelic death metal riffs.  The pacing and style are constantly changing, largely led by the AP Calc-level drumming.  I picture a sort of death metal Rubik's Cube being solved my some giant, interdimensional being.  Consequently, "Cube" is my personal favorite track here, with "Swarm" coming in at a close second.  I feel that these ones most expertly manage to weave hooks and standard headbanging appeal into the otherwise technical headf@#kery.

This leads me to one concern I do have with Sentient: it feels (at least to me) that a lot of these tracks sacrifice the above qualities for impressive musicianship alone.  It's the same complaint I had about Krallice's last LP.  Maybe I've just been spoiled/jaded in my worship of Gigan's perfect union of accessible hooks with technical acrobatics.  In any case, I still very much enjoy what Nucleus is doing here, I simply think that they have room to finesse their sound a bit more in the future.

But there's always the chance that I'm simply missing the point.  There is something inherently more dark and ugly about this group's sound that may not come through as strongly with the revisions I am describing.  Recall that I was seemingly the only one who just didn't "get" the highly lauded 2015 Horrendous album.  With that in mind, I very much encourage you to check out this album for yourself.  Between the deep, vile growls and foreboding tremolo lines, I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of new fans flocking to these talented Chicagoans.  It was enough to catch my ear.