With an album title like Unrelenting Fucking Hatred the listener shouldn’t expect subtlety. While the lingering results of genocide, war, and hate crimes (among other atrocities) may impact the human psyche in subtle ways, the violent results are as immediate and brutal as the album title suggests. If Rage Nucléaire had a collective ringtone it would be the bomb sirens that blare in several tracks, warning of the oncoming onslaught. This record is a dizzying lo-fi assault that captures the rawness of the tape-trading age of black metal while maintaining its own peculiar charm. Charm may be a strange word for a vicious black metal record, but this is not your grand dad’s sullen strand of black metal. And if it is, then your grand dad is pretty awesome.
Rage Nucléaire features vocalist Lord Worm, a provocative and engaging frontman formerly of Cryptopsy. Now as the demented elocutionist of a black metal band he spits and screeches with startling commitment. There’s not a single half-assed snarl on this album. These (inaudible) words are absolutely screamed with conviction. I picture Lord Worm as some mad preacher rummaging through the ruins of bomb-blasted cities surviving on the flesh of charred battle casualties. His voice is deranged and menacing, from the high-pitched howls to the strange robotic croaking that becomes so unhinged it seems unconcerned with the accompanying music’s rhythm in “Gift of the Furnace” and “30 Second in the Killhouse.” There is charisma, danger, and wit in Lord Worm’s songwriting/vocal performance on Unrelenting Fucking Hatred. This is just another example of why Lord Worm deservedly became a household name in the metal community.
The accompanying music on Unrelenting Fucking Hatred is driven by keyboard melodies while the buzz of the guitars and the mechanical hammer of the drums provide the spine for each song. While the album is undeniably fast and heavy it’s more of a foundation for the gothic flamboyance of the keyboardist’s electronic strings and 8-bit organ. The keyboards do the real heavy lifting when it comes to what differentiates the songs from each other, which makes this brutal music still feel weirdly warm, and at times, harmless. While Emperor and even Cradle of Filth (like on their early demo, titled with eerie similarity Total Fucking Darkness) have experimented with this approach before, both of those bands featured the guitars more prominently, using the keyboards strictly as a supporting instrument for additional texture. Mystic Circle’s dragon saying concept album Drachenblut might be the closest comparison, though it doesn’t possess the fuzzy grit Rage Nucleaire achieve on this album.
If it’s not clear yet, Unrelenting Fucking Hatred is a strange animal. At its best, like in “Endziel” and “The Gallows and the Black Coffin,” Rage Nucléaire change speeds to highlight the crunchy, crusty elements of their black wall of sound and include terrifying sound-strokes like Lord Worm’s occasional droning delivery or samples of screaming swine. These songs definitely have sharp teeth, but not all of them have the strongest jaws. A few of them grab the listener and let them escape as the keyboard’s dominance distracts from the surrounding mayhem. For songs about unrelenting fucking hatred the keyboard sounds pretty unrelentingly fucking polite at times.
I think this album is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of black metal and feel immense nostalgia for mail-order days spent studying ‘zine back pages for obscure, evil music. Also, if you’re tired of the grim grind of pitch-black metal and want something with (comparatively) softer edges, Rage Nucléaire offers that while still featuring an entertainingly combative, confrontational vocal performance. It’s not the most brutal release of the past year, but it ranks among the most interesting. Also, I’m not sure what a Murderworm is, as mentioned on “Hunt with Murderworms, Sculpt With Flies,” but I imagine it looking like one of the creatures from Tremors, and I really want one as a pet.
Support Rage Nucléaire on Spotify or over at Bandcamp to hear the horrors of the Murderworm: http://ragenucleaire.bandcamp.com/releases
And check out their humorous band description/mission statement over at Season of Mist while checking out merch over at: http://season-of-mist.com/bands/rage-nucleaire