Wet Ass Plutonium

Metal Blade
rating icon 7.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. W.A.P. (Wet Ass Plutonium)
02. Apocalypse Mao
03. Nyetflix and Chill
04. Air Force Fun
05. Snark Side of the Un
06. ¡Vamos, Brandito!
07. Anti-Saxxers (Mandatory Saxination)
08. Critical Bass Theory
09. Red Scare Bear Stare

When NUCLEAR POWER TRIO first appeared, a cursory inspection suggested that this was going to be one of those painfully wacky projects that, on balance, probably shouldn't have seemed like a good idea at the time. Fortunately, the truth about the virtuoso three-piece is that their music is predominantly instrumental and absolutely dazzling. The masks — Putin, Trump, Kim Jong Un — are really just an excuse to make as many excruciating puns as possible in song titles: an activity that should absolutely be applauded, and that reaches new heights on the band's first full-length album.

Pitched somewhere between explosive shred and lissom fusion, NUCLEAR POWER TRIO's sound makes the most of the technical skills of everyone involved, but "Wet Ass Plutonium"NUCLEAR POWER TRIO offers more than endless showmanship for fellow six-string warriors to froth over. Nick Schendzielos (CEPHALIC CARNAGE / HAVOK),  Greg Burgess (ALLEGAEON) and Pete Webber (FEAR FACTORY / HAVOK) have obviously learned the lessons from countless instrumental shred records that, when all is said done, most people appreciate the occasional tune to balance out the fret-melting wizardry. In fact, "Wet Ass Plutonium" is very, very strong on tunes, and despite many bewildering, "how the fuck did they do that?" moments, these songs are accessible, absorbing and a vast amount of head-spinning fun.

At its best, "Wet Ass Plutonium" is a riot. With its glittery, videogame sheen, the opening title track is a futuristic, foot-to-the-floor rampage, dense with power metal hooks, interwoven synth melodies and unfathomable bass athletics, it surpasses anything on the preceding "A Clear and Present Rager" EP through sheer energy and bravado alone. It's an action movie soundtrack broadcast through Joe Satriani's skull. It's dystopian speed metal synthwave. It's brilliant.

Elsewhere, "Apocalypse Mao" goes heavier and harder, but with huge waves of slippery-footed fusion rock popping up between tech-metal tornados. "Snark Side Of The Un" (pun points awarded!) is a fidgeting, funk rock odyssey with real emotional power and some extremely cool bursts of three-man syncopation; "Anti-Saxxers (Mandatory Saxination)" is all soulful jazz vibes and radical funk metal, with wailing saxophone spiraling around Burgess's ingenious soloing and a particularly astonishing performance from Schendzielos; and "Air Force Fun" is a short, sharp and sugary blast of shape-shifting progressive metal that really needs an animated sci-fi show to call home. Orchestrations by MARVEL composer Jesse Zuretti and guest solos from the likes of Chris Broderick (IN FLAMES / ex-MEGADETH) and Scott Carstairs (FALLUJAH) fill the few gaps in NUCLEAR POWER TRIO's elegantly hectic barrage, and there is even room for a harpist and a horn section. If you want fun, NUCLEAR POWER TRIO have got it. They can also play a bit. Not bad for three fascist goofballs, all things considered.

Author: Dom Lawson
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