Album Review: Nunslaughter – Red is the Color of Ripping Death

Album Review: Nunslaughter – Red is the Color of Ripping Death
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

Formed in Pittsburgh back in 1987 and now playing out of Clevelend, Ohio, Nunslaughter have been prolifically releasing product since the Ritual of Darkness and The Rotting Christ demos at the tail end of the 80s. The EP Killed by the Cross came out as the decade changed and would signal the start of a slew of EPs, splits and live recordings in the following ten-years. It would be 2000 before the band released their Hell’s Unholy Fire full-length debut and the process would start again.

Goat saw the light of day in 2003, Hex in 2007 and Angelic Dread in 2014. With uncertainty surrounding the band after the tragic passing of long-time drummer, Jim Sadist in 2015, the decision was made to continue with Joe Lowrie taking over the drum stool in 2016.

Main stay bassist and vocalist and only original member, Don of the Dead, must have decided time enough had passed and Nunslaughter was due another resurrection and, he and his cohorts, set about creating a new set of tunes to unleash on an already weakened public.

The early releases that blended classic death metal and hardcore punk and sat under the title of Devil Metal has largely been refined into a ripping death metal sound with more than a little dirty black metal mixed in for good measure.

Red is the Color of Ripping Death is a real cornucopia of styles and sounds. The production is clean and allows the dirty riffs to sound as though they are crawling from the pit. The blast-beat drums hold everything together and the, mostly, shy bass brings a weight to the proceedings when it rears its head.

Taking inspiration from the likes of Venom and Celtic Frost, Nunslaughter merge whirlwind musical moments, such as the album opener, Murmur, with the measured, though no less heavy Banished, in which the band deliver a slow-paced black metal inspired track, built on thick riffs from a choppy guitar. Guitarist Tormentor seems to be having a whale of a time across the album: cranking out musical ferocity on Below the Cloven Hoof, The Temptress and Dead in Ten; while conjuring catchy grooves on To a Whore or Black Cat Hanging.

Those Celtic Frost vibes come to the fore on Banished, Casket Lid Creaks and the title track, which is the record’s most accessible moment featuring - believe it or not – a singalong chorus.

With a name like Nunslaughter it’s obvious God is going to get a bashing or two and Red is the Color of Ripping Death has no intention of letting the Big Guy off the hook. Eat Your Heart Out and Beware of God have punchy rhythms and plenty of hooks; The Devil Will Not Stray is heavy and plodding; whereas Annihilate the Kingdom of God’s dissonant progression revolves around meaty bass line and a conversational vocal, part of which could have been taken from an early Morbid Angel album.

Don of the Dead’s bass is thick like molasses and his vocals are guttural and unsettling. Joe (known as Wrath)’s drums are pummelling and uncompromisingly and a fitting tribute to Jim Sadist who co-wrote many of the 14 tracks contained on the album.

As a band most probably cited more than listened to due to their (frankly) awesome name it is now time to hear what Nunslaughter have to say. If you like Extreme music you will not be disappointed.

*** Fun fact: the spell-checker on my PC wants to change Nunslaughter to Nuns Laughter, which very much dilutes the impact of the band. ***

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