US death metal outfit Nucleus’ latest effort offers an atmosphere of dread and oppression, which is suited well to their brand of sci-fi death metal. ‘Entity’ offers heavy riffs with plenty of groove. Hints of classic thrash metal underscore the oppressive atmosphere, which, combined with the way in which the instrumental elevates the vocal performance, and the album’s sheer grit, works excellently to create a very enjoyable new entry into Nucleus’ catalogue.

Arrival offers an intro that sets the atmosphere of dark tone that instills a feeling of dread.  The opening seconds begin with a metallic tone with the opening riffs, which then leads to a heavy slow build until the tempo picks up. Arrival excellently utilises its shifting tempo, groove undertones and fast guitar work to offer a solid and enjoyable beginning to the album.

Entity kicks off immediately with a heavier riff before a bass break leads into some blistering guitar soloing. The guitar work for this song sinks its hooks in immediately before a quick bass break and shifts in tempo that bridge into some fast and slick solos. The rest of the song is punctuated by vocals that are framed by excellent instrumental work and masterful use of dynamic tempo shifts throughout the track.

Uplift continues the shifting tempo and excellent riff work, with the guitar work on the song feeling immensely satisfying, with the tempo shifts and solos being flawless in the execution. The guitar riffs in this song are dripping with style, and perfectly complement the vocals in filling the mix underneath. The subtle groove found in the riffs of this song are simply a joy to listen to, as it offers more with each listen and never feels flat in both execution and technical prowess.

Mobilization begins with some immensely satisfying meaty chords before shifting to more complex riffs, offering subtle groove and subtler shifts in tempo throughout. This track also offers what feels like a slightly sharper vocal performance, which perfectly merges into the structure of the surrounding riffs and chords that create a slower and even claustrophobic feel to the sound.

Approach begins with a slow riff that progresses to heavier riffage before piano kicks in, the use of which is simply brilliant, setting the atmosphere of unease before seamlessly shifting to fast and heavy, with some blistering solos before slowing to bridge into the following track Outpost.

Outpost begins by offering a bombastic riff that is dripping with groove in the song’s intro before the tempo shift into fast and brutal sound, with the vocals being excellently elevated by some immensely satisfying guitar work. The groove undertone of the riffs, combined with the fast tempo and structure around the vocals offers a truly excellent track that shifts so dynamically, allowing the guitar work to shine even more than it already has with this track. It’s dripping with grit, and it has some truly meaty guitar work and excellent vocal work.

Dominion begins slowly with a slower tempo and build, which is punctuated by claustrophobic riffs before the tempo picks up to a fast speed with meatier chords. The riffs are more understated under the vocals in this track, with the breaks between the vocals punctuating the song with some solid riff work before moving into a strong instrumental section, which carries the subtlety of the previous tracks, before shifting tempo and eventually the song’s outro bridging well into the final track of the album.

Timechasm follows with a clean riff that immediately is punctuated by power chords before shifting quickly towards a heavy riff that is layered with the clean opening riff. Timechasm follows the style of shifting tempo and subtle groove, with the vocal sections being built upon the subtler aspects of the guitar work. Timechasm’s guitar work offers an excellent and fittingly dynamic performance that offers a very solid bookend to the album as a whole.

Ultimately, ‘Entity’ is a very enjoyable album, offering a feast of immensely enjoyable riffs, masterful shifts in tempo and an atmosphere of dread that is uplifted on the foundation of subtle groove and slight hints of thrash metal influence.  Nucleus’ ability to shift tempo so often is truly astounding, as at no point throughout the album did this shift feel at all jarring. The musicianship of this album is simply excellent, with instrumental work that carries so much nuance in the use of groove that upon many listens, it always feels fresh. While this album didn’t immediately click for me, subsequent listens have been nothing short of immensely satisfying and enjoyable. ‘Entity’ absolutely deserves a listen.

You can purchase the album here.