Top 5 Sci-Fi Books That Need To Be Albums w/ Nucleus

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This week on the Friday Guest List, Dave from Nucleus joins us to discuss recording, how air-vents can help write riffs, Finnish death metal, and his enduring love of Sci-Fi.


How are you going Dave, been busy lately?

Life’s been super busy these past few months, making hard to finish up writing new stuff, but we are getting close!

Excellent! Since we last caught up with you, Nucleus released a quality split with Macabra. Were they tracks from the Sentient recording sessions?

That was all written post Sentient. The songs on Sentient were written over a fairly long period of time. It mostly could have been recorded and released a long time earlier, but we went through a few lineup changes which delayed it quite a bit. A few of the songs, mainly early versions of ‘Cube’, ‘Cantos’, and one other which got split up for riffs I wrote back in the first year or so of the band, back during our demo days, which I was gonna use as a solo side project. Eventually the main song writer left the band and I took over writing and we released The Colony. At first I was intending to go for an early Asphyx sound, but even in The Colony you can hear some of the songs pushing towards what Sentient ended up being. So eventually I brought those side project songs back in the fold and turned Nucleus in that direction. Most of the album was written pretty quickly after that, but we got a new bassist and then a new drummer, so it wasn’t until late 2015 that we managed to actually record.

To get to the actual question, Fragment was finished just before we went on tour with Blood Incantation in September 2016, and then the other two songs were frantically written in a week or two shortly after the tour to get the split out with Macabra in a reasonable time. With our line up now we will have an easier time releasing new stuff in reasonable time frames.

Overall, it felt like they had a little bit more of that morbid Finnish death/doom tone creeping in. Can we expect some exploration in that direction on future Nucleus songs?

From the beginning I’ve wanted to put the band in a position where I could put in almost any style of riff and have it work in the band, which I think has worked out. We managed to throw a funeral doom song in the middle of our 3 songs in the split and I don’t think it feels out of place. The next album will definitely continue having some doom parts whenever it makes sense to do so, although it may be a while before we do a full on song like ‘Assimilation’ again. I was experimenting a bit on ‘Fragment’ and ‘Beacon’ with adding more onto the guitar work, with both guitars doing their own thing more often instead of playing the exact same thing. I think those parts worked, and I’ve definitely pushed it a lot farther on the new album.

All the Nucleus releases are pretty much a timeline of me learning how to write a song. The songs on The Colony were the first things I had ever written, and I’m really proud of what the new stuff sounds like just a few years later.

If you could pick just one Finnish death-doom album to recommend to others, which would it be and why? 

AdramelechPsychostasia

Not all doomy, but this is one of my favorite Finnish death metal albums, and one of the bigger influences on the direction I took with Nucleus. Some nice shifts from more normal death metal riffing to really weird riffing.

Guess there are no wrong answers to that one. We’ve recently seen a bit of a resurgence in the quirky approach to death metal guitar sound, with all kinds of interesting and diverse tones exhibited by bands such as Tomb Mold, Cosmic Void Ritual, Cadaveric Fumes, and Nucleus. Would you care to explain your general setup to us?

Probably not going to get the most satisfying answer to this out of us. We really aren’t tone junkies at all. Its pretty much all just amp distortion for us through our 5150/6505s. That tone sounds great regardless of if we are doing the weird/awkward riffing or the more down to earth death metal riffing.

Has there been any kind of experimenting that has helped you create more thematically fitting riffs/songs?

Funny enough, I’ve written most of the material without even plugging into an amp. A majority of it has just been written with me jamming on an unplugged electric at my computer. A decent amount of riffs/song ideas have been written with me in weird places where I make weird sketches or come up with ways to remember my riffs when I have no pens. It’s become a running joke since a few times I’ve posted pictures online of my air vents in my car shifted in a way that would remind me of the riff later on.

One friend jokingly sent me a picture of some trees, which I then proceeded to write a riff based on that will most likely end up on our next release.

That’s definitely a unique approach. So what’s next for Nucleus?

The next album is mostly written. We’ve already learned half of the songs at practice, and there’s about one and a half songs left of the 8 songs to write. Its a concept album, so the lyrics will be a story connecting through all the songs. The three songs on the Macabra split are basically a prequel setting up the story on this next album. We are going to take our time with it though, as there’s a lot of different things I want to try and experiment with on this album.

Even before that’s released we are going to try and get a few songs written and recorded for a yet unannounced split that will come out before the album.

Also, we have a few shows coming up. We are playing with Tomb Mold/Taphos Nomos/Sekkusu November 7th in Chicago, Morta Skuld/Embalmer/Scorched November 30th in Chicago, and then December 9th we are heading down to San Antonio with fellow Chicago band Cardiac Arrest to play Winter Hell 3, which has a killer lineup.

Fuck, I’d do all sorts of dumb shit to see that Tomb Mold show; Scorched’s new EP has been kicking my arse lately too. Ok, while I sit here and try to work out a cheap way to traverse the Pacific, let’s get into your topic for today. You’re going to take us through your Top 5 Sci-Fi books/Book Series That Need To Be Albums. Let’s see what you’ve got chosen…


As expected, I made this way harder on myself than it should be. For the most part I had to think of if I could use these in some way I think would be worth while, specifically for death metal, and I also avoided listing anything I’ve already referenced on previous Nucleus songs, or that I know other bands have already released albums about, which made this way harder than I thought it would be. There are tons of great Sci-fi books that popped into my head that I didn’t think their themes would necessarily translate well into death metal lyrics. Spoilers in these descriptions are inevitable.


1. Dune – Frank Herbert

The Obvious one. Probably my favorite Sci-Fi book ever. Funny enough, after Sentient came out I was planning on making the 2nd album a Dune concept album. After finishing the split and having the story behind those 3 songs be kind of a perfect segue into a bigger story I shifted the theme. This is one I definitely think I’ll do an album for one day, although I want to make sure its good enough to even be associated with the source material. A lot of that book is very dark, and all the melange/spice related things could really fit some abstract and weird lyrics as well. So much of the book is the internal thoughts of characters, which doesn’t lend itself well to film (although Villeneuve is the one guy I could see pulling it off), but that could be incorporated into some really cool lyrics I think.


2. The Culture series – Ian M. Banks

Tons of material is available here, since this is a pretty big series. Its basically centered around a huge super advanced civilization named the Culture that contains multiple species, as well as sentient machines, and its conflicts with other usually violent civilizations. The first book “Consider Phlebas” in particular is very death metal worthy, with some nice violent war sections, from the perspective of someone who hates the culture.

 

 


3. A Fire Upon the Deep/A Deepness in the Sky – Vernor Vinge

Two separate books that are mostly just related by sharing a character. Either one could give plenty of lyrical material. A Fire Upon the Deep with its almost Lovecraftian destructive intelligence, almost like Mad Max: Fury Road: IN SPACE; or A Deepness in the Sky with a civilization that can basically enslave you by turning you into a living computer that won’t stop working on the task given to them even to eat or sleep.


4. Gateway Series – Frederik Pohl

I envision this being something on the very doomy side. A big feeling of “the unknown”, at least early on in the series. There are remnants of an unknown civilization, with ships humanity doesn’t know how to control, that you can launch off to someone unknown location in in the hopes of riches, with a high chance of never returning. Or maybe the ship does return, but the trip was so long that you starved to death before returning.

 

 


5. The Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov [The Mule]

The band Terminus made a pretty great album on this series, so I got a little more specific. His armies roll up on the outskirts of your solar system, then suddenly your sides ships start flipping sides and fighting for him. This is such a great series that I don’t want to spoil it anymore. A classic.


That’s it for this week. Head on over to Nucleus’ Bandcamp page to pick up some of the raddest death metal getting around, and call them nerds on their Facebook page.


Previously On The Friday Guest List

Barshasketh took us through 5 U.K Bands To Keep Your Eye On

Convulsing talked 5 Otherworldly Albums & Lone Wolves.

Madrost fried our brains with their Top 5 Sci-Fi Albums

Phylactery banged out their Top 5 Neck-Snapping Tracks.

Dumbsaint blew our ears out with their Top 5 Noise releases.

Cadaveric Fumes hit us with their Top 5 New French Live Acts.

Contaminated blasted us with their Top 5 Underrated Nasty Death Metal Releases.

Eternal Champion slayed us with their Top 5 Sword-Wielding Anthems.

Saturndust shot us into orbit with their Top 5 Spaaaced-out Albums.

Hideous Divinity took us to the movies with their Top 5 Album-Inspiring Films.

Tempel provided perfect soundtrack with their Top 5 All-Time Film Scores.

Moray delved into their Top 5 USBM Albums.

Spirit Adrift revisited their Top 5 Ozzy-era Sabbath Songs.

Execration returned with their Top 5 Albums To Take Into The Void.


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  • AndySynn

    I’ve always wanted to do a Dune-themed Black Metal project. Replacing icy winds with blazing heat and adding a psychedelic, spice-fuelled edge.

    • Dubby Fresh

      I feel like DSKNT, though not Dune themed, could be the band to do it. Lots of heat and esoteric elements.

      Alternatively, I’d really like to hear a “desert metal” album that faithfully blends sitar/flamenco/tabla into extreme metal rather than simply having a sitar line to add that little dose of spice in an otherwise straightforward metal track.

      • GrumpDumpus
        • Dubby Fresh

          It’s good, aye, but not as extreme as I’m envisioning.

          • GrumpDumpus

            YOUR ENVISIONS ARE DIFFICULT TO APPEASE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_gaU6CGFrA

          • Retchin’ Rites ov Karhu

            DO EET URSELF HERR DOCTER

          • Dubby Fresh

            Teach me to play the sitar, and I will.

          • Retchin’ Rites ov Karhu

            Fine, anyday, you name the time, I name the place.

          • Lacertilian

            Make sure he comes prepared with his beard knitted into his pubes so it makes tuning easier.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      Dvne Asheran

      • AndySynn

        Reviewed it a few months ago, and it’s one of my favourite albums of the year… but…

        1. It’s not Black Metal

        2. Although the band’s name is “Dvne”, I don’t believe that “Asheran” itself is specifically Dune-themed.

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          YES. ME TOO.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    THE BIBLE.

    • Howard Dean
    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      How would that work? Will it be one of the many concept albums about the Book of Revelations? Will it cover the more metal parts of the Bible?

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        I’m thinking about a Weezer / Dad Rock / Emo / or Riot Grrrl approach.
        You know, knocked up teenager gives birth to carpenter’s apprentice, he becomes messiah etc etc. You know the plot.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Dune is such a good book series. Also Fantastic Voyage deserves one.

  • Howard Dean

    I don’t know enough about science fiction books to give any sort of reasoned analysis of his picks, but I will say that I think Sci Fi themed metal would probably benefit greatly by using material sourced from Sci Fi literature. So much of the Sci Fi metal comes off as just trite or boring (“hey, I just watched an old Carl Sagan documentary and wrote this song filled with obtuse jargon from astronomy”). Having a solid story line behind the music/lyrics would definitely help.

    • GrumpDumpus

      THIS APPLIES TO ALL EXTREME METAL HEY I JUST WATCHED -horror/porn movie- AND WROTE THIS SONG FILLED WITH OBTUSE JARGON FROM -theology/anatomy-

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        ME TOO:

        “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” Ezekiel 23-20

  • Doc Torluv

    “The Descent” by Jeff Long. That could be a doomdeath masterpiece.

    • Dubby Fresh

      I don’t encounter many other people who’ve read of the Hadals…

      • Doc Torluv

        IMO, one of the top five books ever in character development and description of a secondary world. Dude can write.

        • Dubby Fresh

          I enjoyed the little segues into the Hadal culture, like the guy who’s skin was painted to make him look like a butterfly. He was just sort of left to wander the tunnels as a work of art.

        • Lord of Bork

          The plot got bogged down in the second half with the whole Satan storyline, but damn if I didn’t keep reading anyway.

          • Dubby Fresh

            The big reveal of Satan’s identity was probably the weakest part of the book, tbh.

          • Lord of Bork

            Have you read the sequel? I loved fuckin’ around with hadals n’ shit but I really don’t want to dive in if it’s more body-swapping-Satan

          • Dubby Fresh

            I didn’t even know there was a sequel.

          • Lord of Bork

            Amazon keeps telling me I’d like to buy it. So far drunk me has been able to resist the call

  • Rolderathis

    Solid interview and solid sci-fi works. I’d personally love to see Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man” turned into an album where each (or most) of the short stories has a corresponding song. “The Veldt” and “Kaleidoscope” would be amazing!

  • Hubert

    Hellstrom’s Hive, one of Herbert’s other novels, would make for a great concept to build a Death Metal album or song around, though it’s not nearly as good as Dune. It’s about a massive secret underground society based entirely on the social structure of insects. It’s a lot less restrained then Dune, with a surprising amount of grotesque scenes and murder.

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    This absolutely rules.

  • Lord of Bork

    Why has nobody made a power metal album about Hyperion by Dan Simmons? Shit practically writes itself.

    • Dave Muntean

      We did do a song about Hyperion on Sentient.

      • Lord of Bork

        My dude, you just made my day.

        • Dave Muntean

          Thats one of the reasons it wasnt on this list. Avoided anything ive done before. Aka starship troopers, commentwealth saga, etc

          • Lord of Bork

            Well it fucking slays so well done

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    This is excellent, especially the choice of the Culture series, which would be the main one for me. Not sure I have many thoughts to add, other than that I feel that Rama would lend itself rather well to some kind of proggy post metal epic.

    • Dave Muntean

      Thought about Rama, but yea i was mainly in a death metal mindset and that didnt work for me as much. Could see proggy or maybe something funeral doomy around the first album

    • Hans

      I think Dephosphorus has a couple of songs about that.

  • Eliza

    Anything by Ursula K Let Guin. She’s very underrated.