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Chaos Omen is a black metal side-project from Necromorbus, a musician that has worked with the likes of Watain, Katharsis, Armagedda, Ofermod, etc. This prolific Swede also owns and operates Necromorbus Studio and runs his own label. Let Clarity Succumb was the second and final release under this moniker, and was released in July 2006 on Nails of Christ.
Musically, Chaos Omen is not too far off from the other bands that Necromorbus has been involved with. This is dark and sombre black metal, with an emphasis on the possessed vocals and dreary guitar riffs. The bass provides an added sense of gloom, sometimes expanding its role beyond that of just following the main guitar melodies. As for the guitars, there are subtle touches that help the atmosphere in reaching a deeper level of morbidity, as open chords are utilized at the end of some riffs. The vocals are just as important for this pitch-black vibe, maintaining a sense of corrupted humanity instead of sounding altogether inhuman. The opening moments of "Old Wounds", in particular, includes the tormented screams of one who has not yet been swallowed by the eternal abyss. The music features a variety of tempos and is rather dynamic, compared to many other bands. There are a decent number of fast sections that employ tremolo melodies and fast-paced drums, but this represents only one aspect of the band's character.
The production is underground yet clear. The guitar is a little thicker than what a lot of black metal bands prefer to use, and the prominence of the bass adds to the wall of sound feeling. The result is pretty powerful, allowing the songs to make a real impact. The tone is not all that cold; quite the contrary, it almost seems to be possessed by the flames of Hell. This is similar to the sort of recording jobs that Necromorbus has done for Watain and Armagedda, though a little uglier than an album like Sworn to the Dark, for example. The drumming is at an appropriate level, being just high enough in the mix for everything to be heard but never distracting from the dismal riffs.
Let Clarity Succumb shows some real potential and it is a shame that Chaos Omen did not last long enough to record a full-length album. While countless one-dimensional bands pollute the scene with horrible records, a project like this ceased to exist before being able to make its full contribution. For a one-man band, this shows a lot of skill in all areas. From the musicianship, songwriting, vocals and even the recording, there is no sign of weakness to be found. Seek this out, without hesitation.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
Necromorbus is by now well known and respected. It seems that everything the guy takes part in turns to gold. This being his solo project, I had high hopes which were fulfilled - but not completely. It's a rather small offering in length, but it shows potential for the future. There's nothing mind-blowing, but it's solid material from start to finish.
Let Clarity Succumb falls somewhere within the realm of Ondskapt and Watain without coming off as imitation. The production, as to be expected, is superb (not in the ultra-polished sense). If you're familiar with the Necromorbus Studio sound, you know what to expect. Each instrument can be heard and it all fits into the bigger picture nicely. Necromorbus also shows himself to be a truly versatile musician, especially on vocal duty. His delivery is simultaneously restrained and empowered, often reminiscent of Nord from Malign. I think a bit more attention could have been paid to song structure and arrangement, but in the end it still works.
The only major downside is the absence of climax. Each song is great on it's own, but nothing really hits the listener and forces attention. There aren't any hooks or even remotely catchy lines to be found. That's not to say that I wanted this to be sing-along black metal, but it doesn't hurt to engage your audience every now and then. The brevity of the EP works well for this reason. If it were any longer, the listener would eventually become numb to it. Overall, I think this is money well spent. It's not something that I'll put on daily, but I'm certainly glad that I bought it. Any fan of the Swedish "orthodox" scene should enjoy this.