Released: 2013, Violent Journey Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The third time appears to be the charm for Finnish thrashers Unhoped. After self-releasing the First Blood EP in 2010 and the Die Harder full-length in 2011, they finally got some sort of label deal. Not sure what people weren't seeing in the band, because their new five-track EP is a pretty solid outing that nicely straddles the line between death and thrash metal and certainly delivers plenty of crunch.
Unhoped definitely aren't all about your typical Finnish melancholia. Nuclear Death is brash, mean and abrasive, sounding more like vintage Bay Area, German or Swedish thrash/death 'n' roll. Indeed, the band often wear the influences – Destruction, Kreator, Vader, The Crown, Exodus - way out on their sleeves, but they give them a contemporary take that keeps them from sounding too much like one of the myriad – and tedious – rethrash/throwback acts.
For one thing, the production here is state of the art: bold, clear and loud, which accentuates the surging, chugging riffs and delivers the kind of jaw-busting punch that retro rawness often cannot. And there is a welcome, somewhat subtle complexity to the music – notably on “Empire of Lies” - that, though it can get a bit lost in the manic presentation, nevertheless keeps things fresh.
Sure, the gang sung “Nu-cle-ar Death!” chorus of the title track is straight out of the old school thrash metal playbook, but it makes for a fist-pumping conclusion to this eye-opening EP that serves its purpose well by leaving you wanting more.