Belgian bruisers Nasty have peddled their aural wares for sixteen years after originally forming in 2004. Fast forward to now and they’ve laid waste to stages globally, their profile has gradually risen and they’re on the cusp of dropping seventh album Menace, their first album for Century Media. Their no-holds-barred approach is, even by hardcore standards, incredibly abrasive; upcoming seventh album Menace is described by the band as “four dudes doing fucked up music for a fucked up world”.
That’s probably the most accurate summation of Menace. Vulgar, short and straight to the point, this is a slab of musical violence bristling with unbridled aggression. This time around Nasty eschew more traditional song structures for a more stream of consciousness approach to writing that’s unafraid to drop earth-shattering breakdowns without warning. Sonically the guitar tone is very much that of a buzzsaw, the snare cracks like a whip and the bass rumbles underneath and all the while vocalist Matthi sounds as if he’s turning himself inside out, an emotional rawness underpinning his vicious barks.
There’s stabs of melody (‘Blood Crop’) but these rarely provide respite. True to the album moniker, they’re full of menace and more often than not serve as harbingers of the beatdowns to come. ‘Addicted’ drops a blastbeat in its opener before bludgeoning with chugging guitar work and pummelling double bass work; in contrast to this it also features a stratospheric melodeath-esque guitar solo that’s utterly sublime and makes the subsequent drop all the more punishing. Closer ‘Ballad of Bullets’ is the most adventurous track by a country mile. An entirely instrumental piece, it juggles diverse genre influences from thrash to NWOBHM and melodeath, gleefully blurring genre lines in one final act of catharsis.
Production wise, it’s very much as expected; there’s very little dynamic variance in the songs - this is beatdown hardcore after all. Coupled with a layer of filth and a buzzsaw guitar tone, Menace does just that, ensuring every moment is as pummelling as the last without suffering from being overly loud or inducing listener fatigue.
For the most part, this is textbook beatdown hardcore - and not in a bad way; it’s violent, compelling and cathartic even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Bookended by sirens either side of the aural brutalising, it’s also somehow even more fitting in today’s world that they should herald both the coming and end of the carnage. Menace is the sound of a band confident in who they are and what they do. Brutally efficient and uncompromising, Nasty have penned an album that is a true symbol of its times, chaotic but also cathartic, providing release from the world's madness..
Menace is out September 25 via Century Media Records.