My first experience with NUCLEAR DUDES was ‘Concrete Cage/Abandoned’ from last year’s tribute to HIS HERO IS GONE, Monuments To Arson. While not so jagged as the original, ND founder and solo (most of the time) member Jon Weisnewski of SANDRIDER and AKIMBO managed to put his own spin on a sludge/crust/doom “classic”, if there ever were such a thing.
With that being said, whatever you think NUCLEAR DUDES’ first full-length is, it isn’t…or it is in some spaces, but definitely not easy to pigeonhole. Synth stabs ala some amphetamine-jacked Keith Emerson are peppered through ‘Boss Blades’, but the presence of BOTCH vocal tornado, Dave Verellen, gives the track both a credibility and that extra bit of heft needed to push the needle to the redline. The PR one-sheet mentions ‘Manifest Piss Tape’ as an “intentional homage to MELVINS”, and it’s a good thing they came out in front of that, so similar are the vibe and sonics, in this case not such a bad thing.
After the GENGHIS TRON electro-tinged, well, grind of ‘Shark Grinder’, ‘Obsolete Food’ beings with a sample I can’t quite place, around the 1:45 point Weisnewski guiding the imagination to the question of what sort of music would be played in a dystopian cityscape’s garbage dumps, the seven minutes in turns alluring and appalling, field recordings of dying cyborgs and machines uttering their last defiant invective to the humans who see themselves, stupidly, as the pinnacle of mankind’s evolution.
Conversely, ‘Guitart’ with its acoustic plucking and Grace Jones interview soundbyte is a settling into a false sense of security before the equally deceptive ‘Lasers In The Jungle’ (there’s Verellen again) fires its sonic salvos towards, of all targets, Paul Simon. The hilariously titled ‘Dads Eat Heels’ drags those still coherent to and through the 8+ minutes of ‘A Special Torture’ to end things.
Boss Blades makes for uncomfortable listening on the level most black metal bands salivate to achieve, and it’s definitely not one I’d seek out on the regular or recommend to a casual noise rock fan, but your fans of PIG DESTROYER, GRIDFAILURE’s heavier moments and Mike Patton’s more quirky work with TOMAHAWK will lap this up.
Review By: Lord Randall
Modern Grievance Records