For a long time, Zimbabwe’s metal scene was confined to one band – now, a second project named Nuclear Winter joins its ranks, helmed by Gary Stautmeister. With the experience of playing in several bands over the years having sharpened his skills, the young composer has channeled his love of melodic death metal and alternative rock across three releases thus far, the latest of which entitled “Night Shift.”
Kicking off on “The Western Gate,” Stautmeister immediately displays his riff prowess, while his vocals cover both harsh and clean ends of the spectrum in a way reminiscent of the Swedish greats such as Christian Älvestam and Peter Tägtgren. He also has some help in that department across the album, from none other than his friends in Dividing the Element – Zimbabwe’s other metal band – a true show of the camaraderie within this slowly-developing scene.
From an instrumental perspective, the songwriting is stellar, whether locked in pummeling death metal grooves such as on “The God Without Shadows,” the soaring melodies on “Life Sick Hearts,” or the interplay between guitars and synths found on “Blueshift.” There’s even some leaning into industrial-black metal tremolo and synthesizers on “Years Lent.” For a record produced by one person with limited resources, “Night Shift” sounds fresh and slick, and easily stands toe-to-toe with its genre contemporaries.
Operating in the turbulent climate of Zimbabwe has not made things easy, but patience and persistence have paid off in an excellent entry into the melodic death metal arena. Even better, there’s already news of new material on the way, so it won’t be long before we descend once more into nuclear winter.
The album will see an international release on February 7th 2020
Gary Stautmeister – Everything
Chris Van & Mat Sanderson (Dividing The Element) – additional vocals
Read our review here.