NUNSLAUGHTER: Red Is The Color Of Ripping Death
Release year: 2021
Label: Hell’s Headbangers
There are bands with long discographies, then there are bands with extensive discographies, and then there’s Nunslaughter. Discogs lists 66 albums, 122 EP’s and 19 compilations, but I’m not sure if that’s everything. The band are notorious for releasing copious amounts of studio rehearsals, live recordings and splits, sometimes in such limited amounts that I’m sure dedicated collectors regularly see nightmares of missing out on yet another live tape.
However, despite having been active since 1987, the US devil metallers have only released four proper studio full-length albums prior to this, their newest output. So for less-dedicated listeners, the task is far easier. You’ll go a long way with these full-lengths alone.
With an ever revolving line-up, only founding member and vocalist Don Of The Dead has carried over from the previous full-length; long-time drummer Jim Sadist sadly passed away in 2015. However, if you expected that to affect the sound or approach of the long-running satanic death metal act, you were dead wrong.
The easiest and simplest, and actually most accurate way to describe this album is as sounding like Nunslaughter. Because this sounds like Nunslaughter. Not like some other band. So… like… I guess you’re getting what I’m going for here?
Of course, that’s not gonna do you a whole lot of good if you’re not familiar with Nunslaughter, so let’s elaborate on that a bit.
Nunslaughter’s style has always been a neanderthal style of primordial, old school death metal: no frills, just thrills. Solos, complex song structures, over-long songs, enhancements like synths and anything like that are a total no-go. Classic death metal, rotting and reeking of pus, echoing roots in thrash metal, is what you’re getting here. Rarely blasting, never lurching, Nunslaughter tend to keep things at a speedy but steady gallop, and the riffs may not be the most complex you’ll hear, but they’re definitely not just shredding away on the old guitar.
And the lyrics? Well, satanic of course!
Nunslaughter, though usually and justifiedly lumped into the death metal pen, are one of those extreme metal bands whose style in a way both transcends and predates too rigid genre distinctions of black, death and thrash. Musically, you can’t call Nunslaughter black metal, at least not like it’s been known for the last 30-odd years, but the unashamed, unrelenting and viciously anti-christian satanism certainly goes down well with that demographic. The riffing and overall song structures, on the other hand, definitely echo the evilest of old thrash metal – like Sodom on a really mean streak. And the rest, well that’s pure death metal without prefixes, suffixes or anything.
In a way, devil metal is indeed the best descriptor for Nunslaughter’s neanderthal extreme metal. Already by their age, the band predates clearly defined differences between black, death and thrash, and they sound like it. Regardless of your preference between death, thrash and black, you’ll most likely find something to your liking in Nunslaughter.
So, as far as metal of death goes, these days you can’t find anything much purer than Nunslaughter. And this absolutely rings true for Red Is The Color Of Ripping Death, which is stylistically pure Nunslaughter. Nothing more, and definitely nothing less. Ripping through 35 minutes and fourteen tracks, most landing around the two-minute mark, this is exactly what you can expect from a new Nunslaughter album. Nothing more, nothing less.
I realize I’ve mostly been talking about Nunslaughter’s overall sound for the biggest part of the review, mentioning the new album as only an afterthought. The things is, there really isn’t a major, marked difference in style or quality between this and their previous output. Of course everyone will have their personal preference, but there’s no clear and obvious difference in quality between this and other albums. My personal favourite is and will forever be Goat from 2003, but chances are that’s just because that’s the one I heard first.
As such, in describing Nunslaughter’s overall sound, I’ve described Red Is The Color Of Ripping Death. As you can perhaps deduce from that, one can quite justifiedly call the album as “just more of the same old, same old”. Because, frankly, that’s what this is. Be that as it may, it’s a solid and well-crafted album’s worth of that same old, same old. Probably there’s no forthcoming classics here, but then again maybe there are, but for anyone craving more Nunslaughter, this’ll sate their hunger quite nicely.
And, on the other hand, if you don’t feel like you need more Nunslaughter in your life, then be assured: you don’t need this.
Me, I’m quite happy about this album. It’s pretty much just what I expected it to be. I’m in no way disappointed.
Summary: Metal is death, death is metal, Nunslaughter death metal.