Nucleus: A Deeds of Flesh Album Review
We recently hit the two year anniversary of the passing of Unique Leader Records and Deeds of Flesh co-founder Erik Lindmark. A man who set out to do the absolute best for the underground scene, accomplishing this and more in the past two decades. Deeds of Flesh were always known to push the boundaries of brutality even in the developing genre’s infancy. From the humble, dark, disgusting beginnings of Gradually Melted to the bitter-sweet ending of the bands conceptual sci-fi trilogy Nucleus; released on Friday December 12th. Though Landmark’s passing left the band as well as the brutal community mourning, the group was determined to finish what they started.
Nucleus, in its encapsulated form, is not entirely like previous Deeds releases. Oh no. It is, in fact, much, much better. And though the album does depict a much more mature and refined expression, rest assured that the integrity of the Deeds core sound and technical trademark remain as sound as always. Production followed yet perfected that of the previous two effort: Portals to Canaan. Less encompassing low-end with a more focus on clarity in the head room. Some die-hard fans of the BDM “cellar-mix” may find the production to be too clean for their liking but one can certainly appreciate the lack of vocal processing even in that perspective.
Instrumentation cuts through the listener’s auditory cortex like a swift breaking of the Earth’s atmosphere. Differentiating time signatures seamlessly fall into one another following a flow of odd-time kicks and punches. A couple factors I noticed in the writing were emphasis on heavy, or in this case not being afraid to use the first couple of frets or even an open chunk every now and again, and a more tangible appreciation for letting the tracks breathe. Drums were masterfully choreographed by Darren Cesca, accurately emulating the Deeds approach under what I’m sure was Hamilton’s guise though he himself handled lyrics and vocal arrangements.
Speaking of vocals: this album has literally all the vox. On top of recruiting original Deeds vocalist Jacoby Kingston for tracking, Nucleus features an a-list cast of Death Metal’s top shriekers and growlers. Including Decrepit Birth’s Bill Robinson, Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, and Gorguts’ Luc Lemay. One could argue that this many guest spots holds the risk of oversaturation. However, due to the circumstance and the sentiment surrounding Nucleus, it seems appropriate to bring many to honor the Deeds legacy in what is undoubtedly the bands most important record. And on that note, Jacoby still has plenty of chances to shine.
My favorite track by far has to be Catacombs of the Monolith. I will always have a soft spot for Lemay.
The current Deeds of Flesh conglomerate certainly produced one hell of an ode Lindmark’s legacy, of which will surely be maintained through the years via Unique Leader Records. I imagine plenty of tears and overall emotion were shed through the making of this project. With this in mind a thought occurred to me about the closing outro Onward. At first it seemed sort of lazy in a way, it struck me as out place and almost redundant until
I really thought about it. Onward. Forward. On to the next. Could it be a nod to future Deeds music or simply that Erik’s legacy and lasting impression on the death metal community lives onward? I certainly don’t have the answers at the moment but its a neat thought to ponder on. Nucleus as a whole was the perfect send-off and deserves no less than a solid 9.5/10.
Though this may or may not be the final installment of the Deeds story, don’t forget to keep buying merch and jamming the bands music for aeons to come. Stay brutal everyone!