Deeds of Flesh – Nucleus (Unique Leader)

Friday, 4th December 2020
Rating: 9/10

The passing of founder Erik Lindmark in 2018 was a major blow to the death metal scene. Not just in terms of Deeds of Flesh, but his work with Unique Leader Records as one of the flagship labels in more extreme circles. Nucleus is the first Deeds of Flesh release since Lindmark’s passing, and it pays tribute to him in many ways. It’s also the strongest release from Deeds in quite some time.

Bringing back former vocalist Jacoby Kingston already gives this an older Deeds feel from the start, and Nucleus also serves as the lyrical conclusion what began with 2008’s release Of What’s to Come. The band also saw fit to bring in a plethora of high-profile guest musicians (including George Corpsegrinder Fisher, Frank Mullen, Luc Lemay, to name only a few – it’s a who’s who of brutal death metal) and this really is what makes this feel like a tribute to Lindmark. It’s as if the entire scene wanted to play a part in this release. Outside of those factors, Nucleus is what you’d expect from Deeds of Flesh, musically. A whirlwind of dizzying guitar riffs and intricate melodies that twist in ways to deliver musical devastation on the listener. At times, it does harken back to the earlier days of the band, where the tech stuff eases off in order to give you a good bit of battery instead (see “Alyen Scourge”). Truthfully, it’s this mix of more bludgeoning elements with the technical stuff that the band has cultivated in their later years that gives this album such a murderous energy. It’s dark and ominous, but still full of plenty of complex twists and machine gun riffing/drumwork. Some highlights? The oppressive and frantic title track, with some added help from Dying Fetus’ John Gallagher, the eerie alien-sounding riffs of “Terror,” and the vocal interplay of the furious mid-tempo stomper “Races Conjoined” with Frank Mullen, Matti Way, and Jon Zig all getting a turn over the course of the track.

Hard to find much to complain about with a top shelf effort from Deeds of Flesh this time around. It’s not only a fitting tribute to Lindmark, but a stellar reflection of the brutal death metal community. There’s all of the wow-factor musicianship that Deeds always delivers, as well as a touch of throwback to their beginnings in a more upfront and brutal way. A must have for extreme metal fans.

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