After a pair of sold out demos Nuke offer up their speed metal, punk hybrid debut Nuke. Featuring members of Shitfucker, Reaper, Borrowed Time, and Anguish the outcome isn’t merely the sum of its parts, rather an unexpected hybrid of all involved. Sure it’s thrashy at times, and scuzzy sounding throughout but this band comes straight from the motor city which once thrived off the automotive industry but is now fighting urban decay and severe populace drops, so what else gets the blood pumping better than something like this? Nuke thrives off their climate with a dark, industrious tone that is lukewarm initially but massive the deeper in you go.
The beginning salvo of this album is the lukewarm part. It takes the first three tracks for the band to really find its groove. The thrashy speed metal approach early on is disjointed at best, it wants to be a throwback to the glory days of speed metal as well as tinker around with NWOBHM. But between the off kilter tempo changes and the drowning, bass heavy sound it never gets off the ground.
“Hellrider” with its hard charging riffs and blazing dual guitar solos couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s as if the first three tracks never happened and the band finally finds its footing. What’s amazing is, it strangely seems they feel it as well, the closing guitar mantra mirrors that of an epic live show finale as if to say “ok we’re here and ready”. Next up is the Maidenesque “Dead Space”, complete with a showering of traditional heavy metal guitar theatrics and a spot on Aces High performance midway through.
The next series of tracks hit a fever pitched speed metal pacing and do what the first three tracks should have. Then out of nowhere “Murder Troops” storms the gates in full on Painkiller mode and it’s pure unadulterated metal glory. From the drum cadence that opens the song to the build in vocal intensity you could close your eyes and swear you were listening to a split between some of traditional heavy metal’s greats. The guitar work is scathing as well as the thundering percussion, which in all sincerity is the best found anywhere on this debut. The band fires on all available cylinders for this track and as you may have guessed, this one easily steals the spotlight. But, with all that said, the bass tones are still way too overpowering. Not nearly as bad as the initial trio of tracks but it’s there and on subsequent spins is just annoying. This, unfortunately, gives way to listener fatigue and even though it is less obvious as the album goes on it is still a hindrance.
On Nuke’s self titled debut the band takes a bit too long to establish their intent. However, once they do it is nothing short of glorious — thoughts of Maiden and Priest are at the forefront of the listening experience. What they do here is nothing new but it’s another in a long line of albums that do a great job of keeping that spirit alive. The only hope is that next time they expel the heavy bass drone that just kills the longevity of this debut.