As the debut album from German grindcore band Vaulting ‘self destructs’ within the ear you just know there is going to be strong opinions either way about the release. For a great many “Nucleus” is going to deeply stimulate and exhilarate with its deconstructions of everything punctuated with striking melodic asides that provoke and ask questions, for probably a lot more even within the grindcore fans, the band and their chaotic seemingly uncontrolled creativity and intrusive sounds will be many disturbing steps too far.
Formed in 2006 by brothers Sebastian and Matthias Gathof (drums and guitar respectively), Vaulting released a demo in 2007 and two EP’s “Epilog” in 2008 and “Modus Humanis” in 2009. The following year saw a change and the beginning of the current stable line-up of the two brothers, vocalist Felix Kisseler, guitarist Martin Scheele, and band returnee Julien Heinrich who took over the bass duties. This quintet have in their debut created an aural maelstrom of technical and extreme metal melded with grindcore and any other flavours that has sucked into the intrusive violent core and intent of their blistering caustic sound.
“Nucleus” was created over 18 months, its thirteen tracks swinging from extremes of senses stripping aggression to heart coaxing dark melodies. The diverse and completely unpredictable directions and ideas within the album and the tracks themselves is hypnotic if not always comfortable to listen to. For many the whole effect will be of complete aggravation and irritability for others inspirational sonic bliss.
The album opens with ‘Place Of Fear’, an atmospheric emotive guitar piece of grace tinged with a slight ominous fee, but giving no indication of the torrent of explosive violent high speed bedlam ahead in ’80 Gy’. Punishing riffs and door smashing rhythms thrust through strident guitars that provoke, poke, and strip slices off the senses with acidic disrupting certainty. Vocally, Kisseler spews and growls with metalcore nastiness complimenting and contrasting the discordant vociferous intensity. Like many of the tracks upon the album it barely passes 2 minutes but has one feeling like they passed through a sonic storm, the mesmeric intricate fret play and underlying mischief at the eye.
The tracks whip through the ear with scant regard for their victims, song structure, and pleasantries as in ‘Biorobot’. It drives with ferocious intent, grinding senses even with its tragically short 1 minute duration until they scream enough. Equally malicious are the ingeniously creative or just psychotic messes of depending how you feel about them, of ‘Arktis Winter’, ‘Guernica’, and the brilliant ‘They Always Return’ where confusion and imaginative chaos erupt hand in hand. With touches of prog, math, and jazz to name just a few essences still recognisable after the Germans have twisted them and for their own means, the track and the album as a whole is ‘impossibly’ stunning. One wonders how it works but it does, the band finding their own undeniable plateau of inventiveness from a standard of extreme testing sounds first seen and explored by the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Locust and currently Retox to name three.
Whether to throw confusion, diversity or even more unlikely to give a relief within “Nucleus” and its onslaught , the album has the discordant melodies and haunting atmospheres of the instrumentals ‘Permafrost’ and ‘Touched by an Unknowing’. Bringing a calm and unsettling peace the tracks still have that element of unpredictable disturbance even if it is mainly suggested rather than realised.
Vaulting with “Nucleus” is sure to divide opinions and that is seemingly exactly what they wish for, to trigger whatever the response being a success for their desire to experiment with music, art and us. Take the challenge for the album is remarkable and like a sonic branding unforgettable.