If we were to generalise a country’s output with national stereotypes we’d probably agree that delicious cheese and sturdy utility knives would be top answer and bonus prize when describing Switzerland. Underneath such sweeping assumptions, the Swiss have quite a history of folk music.
Nucleus Torn continue the tradition somewhat, but in a transcendent way which hears lush folk mixed with progressive fibres and the occasional metallic twist.
Written in the summer of 2008 by mastermind Fredy Schnyder and brought to fruition over three-years with a troupe of 13 musicians, fourth attempt ‘Golden Age’ is a beautiful, belated triumph. Eluveitie’s Anna Murphy contributes alongside Nucleus Torn regular Patrick Schaad throughout ‘Golden Age’ with a crystal, folk voice that shines in elegant sections of subtle acoustic.
Title track ‘Golden Age’ is a nice opener for the album, but second track ‘Hunger’ is where your mind is softly tugged away under the tiers of musical layer. Organised by Schnyder, the multi-instrumentalist plays bouzouki with serene swathes of violin and flute accompanying, to craft a standout track.
The album weighs in at more than 48-minutes but it feels much less, which is always a good sign if you’re getting out your seat to hit the replay button. ‘Ash’ is a great achievement from the eclectic group that pinpoints the diverse, free-flowing nature of Nucleus Torn with some soothing, heart-rending acoustic and crunching prog-metal riffs and rougher vocals. It’s only near the album’s end that we hear heavier sounds. But when they dynamically shift into this territory – it’s tightly built to reach a mammoth sound that blows you away like a 90mph gale. Nucleus Torn close this record with ‘Death Triumphant’ – a dark, reflective 12-minute epic that confirms what a talented unit Schnyder has amalgamated.