NUKEM — The Unholy Trinity (review)

NUKEM — The Unholy Trinity album cover Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
"The Unholy Trinity" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California based thrash/heavy metal act Nukem. The album was released through Sleaszy Rider Records in September 2016. Nukem was formed in 2012 and released a demo in 2015. The band features a trio lineup of Don Lauder (Bass), Steve Brogden (Guitars, Vocals), and Norm Leggio (Drums). The latter has previously played with Psychotic Waltz, Teabag and Cage. In addition to the three members of the lineup, there are several lead guitar guest performances by guitarists like Laura Christine (Meldrum, Warface, Zimmers Hole) and Craig Locicero (Forbidden, Demonica).

Stylistically the music on "The Unholy Trinity" is Bay Area influenced thrash metal with strong heavy metal leanings. So it´s a bit more varied in style than your "regular" Bay Area thrash metal release. A track like "Evelyn's Awakening" for example features a strong (early) Metallica influence, but also features a female choir part and loads of melody, and naturally the rather brilliant cover of "T.V. Crimes" by Black Sabbath also pull in a traditional heavy metal direction. Nukem pull off doing a very convincing cover of "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley too, but there are also harder edged material featured on the album in tracks like "WarWolf", "D.O.I", and "Lethal Injection". Another track which deserves a mention is "The Atomic Age" which is a great anthemic song and just to make things even more varied Nukem have also included an instrumental acoustic piece (with a lead guitar melody playing over it) in "Lucida Sidera".

It´s not so much the musical style or the various elements that Nukem use to create their music, because they are all tried and true, but it´s the way they combine the elements and how they deliver their music. Especially the latter is a real joy. The musical performances on the album are on a high level on all posts. Lead vocalist/guitarist Steve Brogden has a raw yet at times semi-melodic vocal style and his guitar riffs are razor sharp and memorable. The rhythm section are tight and play their parts with great power and an organic touch. Add to that an almost perfect production job, which is raw but not retro noisy raw, and we have a killer album on our hands.

It´s not often you come across what is essentially pretty old school/retro sounding, but still features enough freshness to sound contemporary (or maybe timeless is a better word for it). "The Unholy Trinity" is one such release though, and considering the high quality songwriting, strong and passionate performances, and the brilliant sound production, this is upon conclusion a high quality release, which should put Nukem firmly on the US thrash/heavy metal map. The fact that "The Unholy Trinity" is a debut album only makes it an even more impressive release and personally I find it highly recommendable. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.
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