Review Summary: The Russian version of Soulfly. Make of that what you will
I don’t like to rip on little known bands, I really don’t, especially when they are nice enough to give away their albums for free, proudly waving that middle finger towards the shoddy business side of music. Sadly, I just can’t find too much to like about Nu-Nation’s debut album, Wake Up
. Being an enthusiast of both groove metal the genre and groove-filled metal in general, I wanted this to be a good little underground release that would surprise me and get my foot tapping. Alas, there just isn’t much to be hailed about this record. Essentially, Wake Up
sounds like an uninspired collection of Soulfly b-sides. The songs on this debut album are all based on the same thick, digging guitar grooves that propel Max Cavalera’s band, but Nu-Nation’s cuts don’t have that pull-in effect that the heavyweights of groove metal encompass. Since groove metal is a relatively straightforward style of music, it is mandatory for the riffs to be captivating, or at the least, they should get one’s head bobbing. Nu-Nation have a lot of work to do in that regard. The songs generally grow stale before reaching midway and thanks to the primitive song structures, which favor the power of a riff to variation, those who have the patience to listen all the way through will experience no change. It is one thing to base your music on groovy, enthralling riffs, but another to play the same dull chords over and over again, and Nu-Nation certainly sound like they had a shortage of ideas when it came to writing riffs for this album. With vapid riffs following vapid riffs, there simply is nothing noteworthy going on.
The best thing I can say about Wake Up
is that it isn’t offensively bad and the title track, "Ready To Run" and the instrumental "Revery" are decent-enough listening material. The groove in "Ready To Run" really isn’t half-bad. Rest of the album is easily forgettable, blase material though. Nu-Nation wear their influences on their sleeves, but aren’t able to live up to them. Besides, even if they would have managed to, with seven Soulfly, four Skinlab and nine Ektomorf releases out there already (mind you, all those bands are still active), is there even a need for another so called "nu-thrash" group" Probably not, especially not for one that sounds like a poor man’s version of the aforementioned bands. Still, these guys are young and there’s room for improvement here. With tighter focus on both song- and riffwriting the next time around, they could churn out a decent groove metal album for all we know. At present though, Wake Up
is nothing more than a rudimentary groove metal album. If you are a fan of Soulfly, Ektomorf and newer age Sepultura, you might like this, otherwise, it is best to keep clear.