Nucleus (USA-IL)
Sentient


3.0
good

Review

by Pon EMERITUS
April 3rd, 2016 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "a tightly crafted nod to its spiritual dynasty"

Nucleus’ sound occupies a middle ground between Floridian-style technicality and Finnish esotericism, with a hint of Darkthrone’s Soulside Journey spliced in for good measure. It sounds like a match made in Heaven, or at least it does on paper. Even the idea of merging Atheist’s buoyant rhythms with the extra-terrestrial decadence of Demilich should make the average death metal consumer salivate uncontrollably, assuming the product is pulled off with some tact, of course. Now, Sentient, the debut full-length from this Illinois four-piece, is exactly that: a tightly crafted nod to its spiritual dynasty with enough personality to shirk the “derivative OSDM” tag. “Dosadi” follows in the wake of the eponymous prelude and announces its presence with gusto. Describing the riffs as “angular” and “warped” may be ostensibly accurate, but it feels like shallow praise given that these descriptors are thrown about so liberally when it comes to albums of this ilk. Regardless of its stylistic lineage, Sentient feels extremely balanced. It effortlessly walks a tightrope between familiarity and eccentricity, which makes absorbing the content a breeze – a trait that obviously has its benefits, but is something of a double-edged sword.

In each song up to and including “Cube”, everything remains in a sort of well-oiled, mechanical locomotion. They use a limited set of motifs but make minor alterations to them as the songs charge forward, laced with just enough ear-candy to sate our auditory cravings. Use of pinch harmonics is ample too, but isn’t overly reminiscent of Immolation or Incantation as one might expect; Nucleus put their own spin on it. Such is also the case with the solo in the aforementioned “Cube”, as you could liken it to something from Mental Funeral, but in doing so would only downplay the individuality on display here. ”Insurgent” turns the wick down a little, shelving a lot of the syncopated hoo-ha from the first half in favour of a tremolo dosage. Unfortunately, it isn’t that much of a stylistic contrast or an apt breather, and the album struggles to maintain momentum from this point onward. It isn’t until the “Starflyer” finale that things pick up again, thanks to a progressive edge that eschews the self-indulgence often associated with this kind of approach, but the damage is already done. Even when hitting most of the targets – whether it’s creativity, proficiency, chemistry, etc. – Sentient doesn’t evoke what perhaps it should. It all just boils down to a state of neutrality, and the response it merits is basically the same.




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user ratings (28)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Pon
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


5945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I tried to love this but what can you do?



Album is streaming in full, here:-

http://decibelmagazine.com/blog/2016/3/29/stream-the-death-metal-soundtrack-to-the-dark-corners-of-sci-fi-by-nucleus

pissbore
April 3rd 2016


12778 Comments


Piece of Time, Soulside Journey, Nespithe, and Complete Discography all in one? i'm certainly intrigued

Pon
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


5945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I considered touching on the production (the snare sound in particular) because yeah it isn't the most visceral sounding album I've ever heard.

Willie
Moderator
April 3rd 2016


20203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

--Decent little soundoff but think you perhaps could have given it a bigger review or perhaps just bypassed it.--



I thought you were joking at first, but the retraction never came. 2-3 paragraphs seems to be the sweet spot for people that are reading about a band they don't actually know about. Any more than that and they're prone to skipping to the conclusion. You're more likely to get people that are already fans to read longer reviews (or friends/followers of the reviewer themselves). A reviewer shouldn't decide to skip writing a review simply because it might be on the short side. Any exposure of a new album is better than nothing (provided it's not a joke review or something similar).

Ryus
April 3rd 2016


36082 Comments


this intrigues me. the two tracks streaming on bandcamp are solid

Willie
Moderator
April 3rd 2016


20203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

--which feels like it's been cut down to just fit the bare descriptions rather than the detailed inventiveness you'd usually read from a Jac review--



He's staff now, and this was basically an 'assigned' review (or as close as we get here). That may explain it.

Pon
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


5945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"which feels like it's been cut down to just fit the bare descriptions rather than the detailed inventiveness you'd usually read from a Jac review"



The tone of the review reflects my impression of it. Not sure why you expect me to inject some "detailed inventiveness" into describing an album that I explicitly say doesn't evoke much and merits nothing but a neutral response. Thanks for the backhanded compliment though.

Pon
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


5945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

In my usual write-ups I'm often more impassioned with whatever it is I'm talking about, not the case here. And this new "barebones" approach seems to be working for me with just about everyone except you, predictably.

HenchmanOfSanta
April 3rd 2016


1994 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really digging the wave of weirdo space OSDM worship as opposed to more cavernous Incantation clones.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


25481 Comments


the drumming on this is really bad lol

pretty standard "we put more effort into our aesthetic than actually making music" osdm

Jots
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


7557 Comments


i think a longer review would've been like squeezing water from a stone. there's only so many ways you can say "ehhh it's ok" before the writing becomes noticeably forced, or you resort to irrelevance or satire or w/e.

it's def a bit barebones compared to usual Jac fare, but he was clearly less inspired by the source material than usual, so w/e.

whenever i feel uninspired i usually just don't bother reviewing anything, but i guess he was more dedicated to following through with the promo material he was given : / it is what it be

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 3rd 2016


25481 Comments


negative reviews are way harder to write than positive ones in my experience just because it's hard to go further than "i dont like this", whereas with something you like its much easier for you to put effort into finding things you like and then writing about them.

honestly i just stopped even approaching negative reviews after a while because they suck to write.

Dizchu
April 3rd 2016


532 Comments


Yeah I need to get around to writing a negative or average review at some point, I don't want to keep giving 4s and 4.5s.

The album art on this looks old school as hell. I immediately recognise Dan Seagrave's work. I need to give this a listen.

Pon
Emeritus
April 4th 2016


5945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thank you, Johnny.



The key word Snox used was "ambivalence", and like you say "there's only so many ways you can say "ehhh it's ok" before the writing becomes noticeably forced". I wasn't interested in tacking on an intro and conclusion to ~contextualise~ my feelings. It's a decent throwback album with some admittedly diverse influences that doesn't really live up to its potential. Nothing more needs to be said.



As for writing "negative" reviews, I've actually found it rather easy in the past. Thing is I'm not Insurrection so I don't actively seek out bad music to shit on. Maybe I should lol

emester
April 5th 2016


8271 Comments


Drumming on this is adequate but really deserves no special recognition. What really kills it is how the shitty the mix on the kit is.

Otherwise, this is pretty great. Bass tone on this is especially phenomenal.

DungeonBoy
April 6th 2016


9665 Comments


I like this album, it's fun progressive death metal. I get the Atheist nod, and really enjoy the riffs on this. The drumming isn't bad, it has little flair, but it provides a good backbone to the music. Somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4.0 for me.

Jotun35
April 6th 2016


124 Comments


Atheist nod? Without flashy drumming? Impossible!

emester
April 6th 2016


8271 Comments


Yeah the drumming on this is insanely simple. It's a pretty solid platform for which all the other instrumentation is able to shine but yeah it seems more to keep time than exude a character of itself

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 7th 2016


25481 Comments


yeah agreed here ill tab out the entire album's drum work right here in this comment

kicksnarekicksnarekicksnarekicksnarekicksnare x ∞

lalchimiste
April 8th 2016


1131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I feel the band lacks a bit of character by blatantly showing (too much) of their floridian/finnish influences. I still think they have some sweet angular riffs and a pretty sick bass tone and def show some potential, especially when they include a lot of dynamic changes in their song (Swarm is a sweet jam).



I don't want to be a dick, but the drums do lack energy/flavor and it's even more apparent when the rest of the band is at Atheist/Demilich/Nocturnus level of technicality



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