It’s just my luck. When I finally find a band as creative and daring as Switzerland’s Nucleus Torn, it’s on their final release! After 18 years and achieving all he set out to do, Fredy Schnyder, the man behind Nucleus Torn, has decided to disband the group. But luckily he and the band go out with a bang with “Neon Light Eternal.”
The album has 3 songs, like any classic prog album might have. The first of which is the almost 23 minute epic “A Declaration of Mistrust” which has many sections to it, starting with an almost a capella intro featuring singer Anna Murphy, who reminds me a bit of Silje Wergeland but Murphy can belt a lot more than even Wergeland.
From there, the song goes into a beautiful gliding section reminiscent of Pink Floyd. When you think “A Declaration of Mistrust” has come to a close, it’s merely a new direction that the track is going to head. The song is more like a piece of art than a typical song. There’s plenty of atmosphere which I love. Plus some BRIEF awesome heavy riffing at the 9:20 mark that goes into a lovely flute/harpsichord section, very King Crimson-esque.
At around 11:20, you think things have stopped but you learn that quiet is very much a part of sound. Too often bands are worried about filling all the empty spaces with notes. Schnyder lets the song breath very slowly with some low notes on a piano before allowing the flute to once again guide us with Murphy’s ethereal voice. At the 15 minute mark, with headphones you can hear some keys way off in the distance. “Pride, failure, weakness.”
At the 19 minute mark, the original Floydian section returns in all of its grace and beauty. The use of a harpsichord is genius and it really adds a lovely texture to this track. And did I mention there are still 2 other songs on this amazing album?
“Nothing Between You And Death” starts off with some absolutely brutal metal. It is SO out of the blue! And it kicks major ass! Murphy proceeds to sing some almost jazzy vocals over top of the madness. She eventually shifts to a distorted spoken word which fits the brutality a bit more. What I love is that this song is a complete 180 from the first one. I love bands that are more than capable of doing ANYTHING at a moment’s notice and that’s exactly what Nucleus Torn are (or were) able to do!
Just when you are content with the heavy riffing, it settles down. Eventually, like the the previous song, it quiets down to a lovely solo guitar piece. Once again, a total change in direction. Do not get settled in because Nucleus Torn will challenge you. Music SHOULD challenge the listener because it’s much more gratifying. Plus, things change again…the mighty riff returns to finish what it started.
“Street Lights Fail” is the last track and the shortest at just under 8 minutes. It’s gentle and pretty. But it’s also eerie and uncomfortable at the same time. There are so many sounds floating on top of the track and underneath it as well. This is an album best listened to with NO distractions. A darkened room with just you and Nucleus Torn.
Perhaps, Fredy Schnyder will reconsider disbanding the group. I will have to ask him. I need to interview this very talented man. I plan on diving into the deep end with Nucleus Torn and consuming anything I can by them. “Neon Light Eternal” is very much a piece of art as much as it is an incredible finale for a band that more people should have known about and hopefully WILL know about.
1. A Declaration of Mistrust
2. Nothing Between You And Death
3. Street Lights Fail