When you think of emerging metal scenes your mind doesn’t immediately go to the African continent, and you’d be forgiven for that. Gary Stautmeister, however, is about to change everything with his Zimbabwe-based solo project Nuclear Winter and his new album Night Shift.
With the trend of one-man acts growing within the heavy metal world, it’s becoming increasingly important and that much harder to stand out. Stuatmeister needn’t worry about that too much though, as a one-man machine he can conjure up the same depth, heaviness and power that a fully complimented band can. The upstart composer draws on his experience from featuring in different bands over the years and pours everything into this project. By doing so he has helped grow Zimbawae’s metal scene to a total of two bands, the other being Dividing The Element whose very own Chris Van & Mat Sanderson leant their vocals to Night Shift.
Stuatmeister’s musicianship is of the highest order, producing riffs worthy of the biggest thrash or death metal merchants out there, thunderous and tight drum work combined with some unexpected yet strategically placed synths, not to mention the layer of thick, heavy bass. All this delivers a solid metal experience that’s hard to comprehend comes from only one man, it’s easy to draw comparisons to the likes of Zeal & Ardor or Mick Gordon here, and they are not names to be bandied around lightly.
The album is comprised of nine tracks, each one having it’s own flavour and space to work in yet retains the signature sound of the project as a whole. The album really comes into its own after a couple of listens, you start to pick up on subtleties you missed the first couple of times around. The only stumbling block I found was Years Lent which to my personal taste felt misplaced with awkward parts of harmonies and synth clashing, however, that’s more of a personal take than a judgment of the overall album which is really something special. To counter that last point I’d say that ‘The God Without Shadows‘, ‘Life Sick Hearts’, ‘Blueshift’ and the opener, ‘The Western Gate’ are all outstanding tracks and work to propel and flesh out the record.
To sum up, Night Shift is a complete package, it’s well put together and holds it’s own against others in the same category, the fact that it is also a showcase of the entire Zimbwae metal scene at this point, certainly sets it aside and I for one hope that there is for to come in the near future.
Nuclear Winter will release Night Shift on 7th February 2020.