Cytotoxin formed in 2010 in Germany and they first leaked their ‘Chernobyl death metal’ sound upon the metal community in 2011, with their damn decent debut Plutonium Heaven. Now, after multiple highly acclaimed releases since that debut, they unleash their fourth album, Nuklearth and if we were to say only one thing about this album it is this……it fucking slaps, HARD!
So strap a lead plate to your chest, make yourself a pair of tinfoil shorts and prepare for hair loss at an alarming rate if you choose to embark on a journey with this irradiated behemoth.
Nuklearth doesn’t so much begin as it does explode, launching its atomic maelstrom out of the speakers with the opening tracks “Atomb” and “Lupus Aurora” which are unrelentingly savage. This assault continues over the course of the album using laser-beam like riffs played with nothing but surgical precision. Time signature changes and tempo changes are in abundance and toss you around rather violently and will please anyone looking for something frenetic and aggressive. The lead playing is emotive yet not just a technical display of skill, it feels like solos portray an emotion within each song which can be difficult to achieve within this style of music. The drumming throughout the course of the album is athletic and burly, you can really feel the driving force behind each hit, which is impressive due to the balls out speed of the material.
Returning fans will notice a slight change in Cytotoxin’s musical formula on this outing, which is most prominent with the vocal performances. Gone are the pig squeals entirely – and so too are the unintelligibly low gurgled gutturals – replaced instead by a throaty growl that spews out toxicity with ferocious pace.
If the beginning of this album is like a nuclear explosion detonating, and the middle of the album equates to the fury of the explosion itself, then the final three tracks must be the settling of debris and ashes after the decimation has been wrought.
The first of these final three tracks is called “Dead Zone Anthem”. A spoken word piece in both Ukrainian and English, which for fans of Cytotoxin will come as no surprise as there has been an interim track on every album so far. The penultimate track “Nuklearth” is an absolute wrecking ball, which presumably is about looking out over the utter ruination leftover in the wake of nuclear aftermath and is one of the highlights of the album. The closing track of the album is then a total departure in both pace and content entirely. “Mors Temporis” or “death of time” in Latin, presents a piano and strings piece. The incessant clacking of a Geiger counter crackles menacingly in the background, and this is where the listener is left at the end of the album; choking amid flames, rubble and nuclear winter. This is the calm after the storm and the stark realisation that the wreckage still blazing in front of you is everything that once was familiar. Devastating yet somehow serene. A fitting end, we think.
Another thing to note is the production on Cytotoxin’s albums, which has progressed significantly with each album and Nuklearth is no exception. The production is both pristine and tight, crispy even. Our only critique is that, in some places, the drums almost overpower the lead guitar work which can take away the shine. That being said, this is the best production that the band has ever brought to the fore by a country mile and is the handiwork of their long-time producer Kristian Kohle of Kohlekeller Studios in Germany.
Tracks on the album that really make the Geiger counter chatter at an alarming rate are “Coast of Lies”, “Quarantine Fortress” and the title track, “Nuklearth”. Overall, this is a fantastic release and the lacerating riffage and sludgy atmosphere coupled with a filthy vocal performance will most certainly have us coming back for more. 9/10
Sebastian Grihm – vocals
Fabrice Töpfer – guitars
Vitalis Kast – bass
Jason Melidonie – guitars
Stephan Stockburger – drums
Cytotoxin released their new album, Nuklearth via Unique Leader records on 21st of August 2020.