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Crushing - 80%

Rotting_Christ_Mike, June 19th, 2012

Taking advantage of the physical release of this demo, I gave Black Chalice a shot; I can safely say that I am not disappointed. What we have have here is quality material from a promising project.

The music here does not move exclusively at slow paces to bring forward the feeling of doom, but also makes use of beautiful melodies to achieve a sad and mournful atmosphere. The guitars play the lead role here, and that is good news because in songs like 'Regret' the repetitive and sorrowful guitar melodies are what make the whole thing worthwhile. The drumming is what you'd expect it to be, following the guitar playing when it comes to the speed variations. The sound is thick and muddy, so I can't comment on the bass since I can't hear it, but I can tell you that this does not affect the music; the absence of the bass does not affect the listening experience and you won't miss it. The vocals are somewhat buried underneath everything sometimes, especially at the more guitar-driven pieces like the aforementioned 'Regret' while in slower ones like 'Cornea' they come to the forefront slightly above the guitar. The vocals themselves are a deep growl which sounds a bit raspy at moments and is exactly what is needed in the music. I find that the vocals are definitely not the main focus of the music though, and they are just accompanying it because my ears are mainly focused on the excellently executed melodies but during the slower parts when the vocals are more prominent they become more noticeable.

This is a well-balanced release, combining both slow death/doom and faster melodic passages which still retain the depressive feeling of the whole release. The changes are not abrupt so everything will sound natural to your ears and won't confuse you like abrupt changes tend to do. The music is very good and the melodies are actually memorable with 'Regret' being stuck into my head for days. There is enough variation to keep you interested, but when nothing changes the music does not become boring but rather feels droning and sucks you in its repetitiveness. My favorite aspects of the demo are the guitar playing and the way in which the music as a whole actually achieves the purpose of atmospheric death/doom and really creates an atmosphere rather than bore you to death. This band is deserving of their atmospheric tag. The muddy sound results in a crushing force.

Having not listened to the previous demos of the band, I can say that the 30 or so minutes of music contained in this release were enough to grab me and I will be following the project's future plans. It certainly sounds interesting and I can't wait to see what the future will bring. Give this a listen!