The old-school thrash metal revival movement in recent years, while having already brought us bands that know and manage to execute the style well, have led to an over-saturation in the scene, with few bands that actually bring in innovations in their sound. Despite their formation back in 1998, Chile’s Nuclear joins the ranks as one of such bearers of the old-school thrash metal flags with their first full length release being only in 2006. 2010 sees their third full length release, Jehovirus.
Unlike most albums though, Jehovirus starts off slow and heavy, with the band choosing to slowly build up the climax and the atmosphere. The opening track Belligerence begins with an almost emotional/saddened melody, before letting all hell break loose with a riff sounding like it could come off a thrash metal Metallica record, though Nuclear certainly manages to pull this off better than the newer Metallica material. Vocalist Matias’ style is a harsh bark, sounding like a cross between Exodus‘ Rob Dukes and Slayer‘s Tom Araya, with similar aggression and fury, and this helps in displaying the various influences that Nuclear has put into their songwriting. The guitar solos that are unleashed by guitarists Francisco and Sebastian range from slower, more melodic ones and just straight-on face-ripping shred, Slayer style. Riffing on the faster tracks even bring in the Teutonic thrash influences, sounding like Kreator or Destruction at their best.
While the opening track of the album displayed the heavier side of the band’s songwriting, it is not until Criminal Solicitation where the band truly unleashes their fury, with the guitar riffs and solos and the drums being executed with extreme precision, and sees the band bursting out in energy, and Matias sounding as pissed as ever. Asphyxia further sees the band displaying even more Slayer influence, with the riffs that are reminiscent of those on Reign in Blood. Even the song structure of the track displays some Slayer-worship, and I’m certainly not complaining for the band manages to do so with flair. Acts of Depravity further brings in a moment of variation with a slow riff starting at the song, but it is not long before heavy drums and riffs bludgeon the listener once more without mercy.
The only slight complaint that I have when first listening to the album though is the placing of Belligerence as the opening track, a slower (though heavy) number which could have easily misled listeners. But getting past the first track and letting the madness really begin on the second track, Jehovirus definitely stand as a strong record in its own right, and Belligerence could have worked better being placed towards the end of the album instead. Nuclear, with Jehovirus has solidified their status and proven their abilities to produce high quality old-school thrash metal music, and is recommended to thrash metal fans who crave for a nice mixture of Bay-Area styled and Teutonic styled thrash metal with a dosage of genuine hate infused.