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All Out Madness: NASTY - Menace Review

The hardcore veterans capture life's turmoil on their Century Media label debut.

Photograph by Matt Ojeda

Despite the obvious impact that the pandemic and ongoing sociopolitical turmoil has had on the world, one thing we can all agree on is that is breeds great art as artists and musicians alike have brought forth a bountiful amount of top-tier compositions in recent months. Of those who use the times as a driving force is Belgium's NASTY, who will be issuing their Century Media label debut, Menace, on September 25th.

NASTY are no stranger to taking on injustice via their punishing, metallic-laden hardcore and Menace is no different. With police sirens chiming at the top of album opener Ultimate, the band set the stage for the 14-track menace that is to follow. Sirens conclude and frontman Matthi explodes with a ferocious vocal delivery that then unfolds into an earth shattering breakdown. It's everything you want from an album greeting as it introduces listeners to the destructive intrigue of Menace. This hope-inducing affair is consistently upbeat with drummer Nash and bassist Berri playing away with sheer force. The brief Bulletrain that follows, which does right by the name, is an example of the musical prowess lying within NASTY's ranks as it unfolds with a 48 second effort of no limits. It's as they say, all killer no filler. It also goes without question that lead singles Ultimate, Menace, and 666AM are the ideal representation of what listeners can expect from the Belgian unit, that being rhythmic grooves and venomous fret work of uncompromising capabilities.

Though one may incorporate elements of crust, punk, or even death metal into their hardcore, the genre is defined in structure, offering very little wiggle room to craft something wholly unique. That's not to say that bands can't keep interesting with twists to the formula as NASTY quite clearly understand. Tracks like Be Careful and title track Menace stray from simplicity, the latter of which an explosive and tempo shifting drum performance of galloping double bass work. The same can be said of the maniacal Be Careful and instrumental album closer Ballad of Bullets as they spike with raging breakdowns. Though aggressive at heart, Menace is refined and controlled as a full-length, flowing seamlessly from one track to another.

Music aside, Menace sports a nu metal-esque album cover by Michael Shantz (BRING ME THE HORIZON, ARCHITECTS) that comes chock full of details inspired by the lyricism of NASTY. From the world on fire to homelessness and drug addiction, Shantz delivers a visual companion to the beast that is Menace, welcoming listeners in his signature caricature style.

Doing right by the band's mantra of four dudes doing fucked up music for a fucked up world, NASTY excel in capturing the prevalent frustration caused by our unstable state of affairs. Menace stems from said frustration, unleashing a barrage of angular time signatures and composition that keep listeners on edge as if to provide an outlet for the trying times. That said, Menace shows no restraint and comes at your neck with full force in true hardcore fashion.


Menace arrives on September 25th via Century Media Records. Get your copy HERE.

Cover art by Michael Shantz


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