Returning with a fresh batch of nuclear noise, Uranium continues to lean into industrial and metal amid an overarching style of utterly abrasive noise. The ongoing trend towards blackened industrial is very much welcome; it’s not so esoteric as pure noise, and it’s not so predictable as black metal, but nonetheless has the charms of both.
“Pure Nuclear Death” initially evokes Slipknot’s “(sic)” before launching into an impossibly fast blast beat above droning, demonic vocals. It then enters an otherworldly mélange of braying guitars and acerbic cymbals that are more noise than metal, nuclear-focused samples intoning within the noise. “Casual Violence” takes a sonic step back, some synth-led tension creating a cinematic sense of doom and disaster, slightly evocative of Lavos-era Chrono Trigger, the Oppenheimer sample and utterly demonic “vocals” helping this likeness.
However, it’s in the last two songs where Pure Nuclear Death really hits its stride. “Fortified Mass Fungus” is sludgy doom of the best sort – sluggish, guitar that sounds like bridge cables straining and breaking, almost sub-60 BPM snare/kick drums, and another alien voice garbled and groaning; if there’s one song that Uranium grabs you by the balls with, this is definitely it. “Black Knight Satellite” is a little more esoteric than the rest – definitely in the nuclear winter of the album with more metallic offbeats and cultist choruses. One thinks of Swans, and maybe a bit of Resident Evil thrown in for good measure.
With cinematic vibes meshed with industrial fury, Pure Nuclear Death is an oeuvre that, on paper, sounds like it shouldn’t work, and yet does in the best possible way. Instrumental albums often struggle to find their footing and make their mark, but Uranium eschews this trend and cuts the teeth sharper still with this release. Sonic sadists and masochists alike will find no shortage of pleasure herein.