The Nub – Quad Damage


Indiana duo, The Nub, are unusual for their electronic approach to the deathcore genre. Sure, many bands include synthesisers and keyboards to add more texture to the syncopated guitar chugs and drum triplets. But this band approach things from the other end of the spectrum and use power electronics as the base for their art with aggressive metal on top. It doesn’t always work, but it’s unique.

Few people would attempt to unite the incongruous styles of Suicide and Suicide Silence, but this may be the best description of the minimalist industrial fuzz on offer here. The New York duo from the 1970s are a clear influence on the primitive drum machines and guitar-less violence spewing through the speakers, although whether this is intentional is open for debate. Opener, ‘/// null’, resembles a cheap 2001 FruityLoops synth melody set to a pitiful drum sequence yet comes to life with a heavy dose of bass guitar thickening the wall of sound like a road drill. Play it back for a second time and this could make the cut for the debut Greg Puciato album.

It sets the scene for ‘Void’, which captures all that’s good and bad about The Nub. The production is of demo quality, but the death metal vocals are fierce and invigorating, like Mitch Lucker at his murderous best. Yet the lack of a pop shield and poor editing muffles the clean singing in the chorus. Likewise, the copy-and-paste drum fill introducing the modulation between the good cop/bad cop voice is just as irksome.

They calibrate things with better effect on ‘Papa John Will Always Be My Papa’, a composition that raises the spectre of Cabaret Voltaire and Carnifex in the same song. This is as raw as a French steak and thrives on a metallic crunch that could ignite the pit if the audience were not so confused by the band’s determination to second guess their instincts. It becomes clear on ‘Buried in Baghdad’ that The Nub prefer to be more like Throbbing Gristle than The Faceless, and for this we should applaud their bravery. Industrial music can often be too precise and mechanical, but this Indiana duo show what happens when the battle between man and machine ends in a victory for the latter. It’s noisy, vicious, distorted, uncontrollable. Maybe they’re on to something new here.

Unfortunately, the demo version of FL Studio serves as the recording equipment for ‘This Little Piggy’ and ‘Cancer’, both of which sound like Nitzer Ebb and subsist on strong death metal growls and psychopathic whispering. The drums are too low in the mix and negligible in their impact. Is that a metronome in the background?

Only on the industrial black metal grind of ‘Rugrats is Foreplay for the 1%’ do they fulfil their promise with a slab of extreme metal that takes Ministry’s ‘TV II’ as its inspiration. This is sonic terrorism coated in death metal roars and tremolo riffs and will earn repeat listens from the baffled listener. Here The Nub stumble on their true sound and should have a template to take things forward on their next release.

At eight tracks and 22 minutes, Quad Damage could do with a couple of lengthier compositions to pad out the album. The imagination and determination to create something unique is admirable, but the duo’s next record will decide their future evolution. On the evidence here, they have the ideas but need to rethink how to use the tools at their disposal.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 15/12/2020

Record Label: Self Released

Standout tracks: Papa John Will Always Be My Papa, Rugrats is Foreplay for the 1%

Suggested Further Listening: Nitzer Ebb – Showtime (1990), Suicide – Suicide (1977), Suicide Silence – The Black Crown (2011)