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So far, the name of Amorphis has been a certified stamp of quality in any metal album produced in Finland. The almighty Amorphis has had ties to a multitude of Finnish bands both through its current or former members, either before or after playing in Amorphis itself. I have greatly enjoyed such groups as Ajattara, Kyyria, Stone, Sub-Urban Tribe and even the grinding of To Separate the Flesh From the Bones, which shouldn't really be among the bands I like to listen to, but still delivers exactly what it promises - and does it well enough.
Unleashed Carnage by Chaosbreed breaks the spell for me. This EP is a mostly useless piece of retro metal. There are two (ex)Amorphs in the line-up, while the names of the rest of the band ensure that Chaosbreed would become one of the true nexus points, should anyone ever play the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game with finnish metal musicians, next to Amorphis itself, of course. However, instead of harnessing the power of this super-group, they decided to make an EP of pretty indifferent old-style death metal. Now, I don't have a problem with old-style death metal, but a spark of creativity and originality wouldn't have harmed the results.
The sound and production on this EP are rough and garage-like, but fit the idea of retro metal very nicely. The problem I have with the overall sound centers on the vocals: Taneli Jarva's singing has the unpleasant characteristics of projectile vomiting in it - and none of the good characteristics of the aforementioned bodily function. He sounds just as if had growled through the lyrics with his tongue hanging out, on purpose, all the time, and I just can't shake off the ridiculous mental image the thought creates. The vocals sound forced and actually a feeling of an intentional joke emerges.
The second problem is that the tracks themselves aren't too much to marvel at. I would have a hard time telling them apart, even after half a dozen listenings, and somehow none of them succeeds in igniting anything close to interest. Well, with the exception of the 1:21 long intro of course, it sounds like a theme song on a soundtrack of an old Tromateam B-movie, with some undead and gore. Unfortunately, it is the best part of this EP. Also, the last two minutes of the last track, Friendly Fire, have a touch of some kind of creative idea. The rest is uninteresting, even if well-executed within the chosen style.
There's nothing wrong with playing older styles of metal, least of all death metal. However, to make an EP or an album of it seems redundant, unless the idea is to use an old style and sound for new music. Chaosbreed might be an interesting live act, but based on this performance, they might just as well play covers of other bands, as Unleashed Carnage contains nothing new. Maybe to make a few albums and play a few dozens of gigs with much lower expectations and less ambition is a good therapy session between more serious projects - and possibly helps to finance the beer consumed in the process. But it probably serves the band members much more than anyone buying this EP. This is certainly not interesting enough to warrant buying the following album, Brutal, especially since it shares three tracks with the EP. This is a definitive treat for old death metal fans looking for a nostalgy trip. Not for me, thanks.
One of the new super-projects on Europe death metal scene is Chaosbreed, band formed by guys who are on the scene a long time - Nalle Fsterman (ex-Gandalf) - drums, Oppu Laine (ex-Amorphis) - bass, Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow) - guitar, Esa Holopainen (Amorphis) - guitar and Taneli Jarva (ex-Sentenced, The Black League) - vocalist. Their music is brutal, only thing around them is death and the light at the end of the tunnel does not exist... Old school of death metal is their music indeed, and Chaosbreed do not try to run from that. Production is raw, almost as if they are some underground band. Guitars are sharp and heavy, drumming is slow and vocals are growling (maybe something in between death and thrash type of vocals). In 2003. they record their first demo, "Unleashed Carnage", which proved successful and brought them a record deal with Rising Realm Records. This demo/EP features five songs and 20 minutes of extreme music. After you have stepped in this chaotic world with "Intro - Prelude to Death", you will be welcomed with fast and brutal song "Wretched Life", which devastated everything around it. "Rotting Alive" has a powerful riffs, extremely catchy and it will probably be the first song that will invade your ears like a virus. It's death metal, but I could swear I heard some old school hardcore moments. "F/C/D/C" and "Friendly Fire" are closing the album, adding tons of extreme sounds to this release. And that's what Chaosbreed is all about - pure brutality! I believe all old-school death metal fans will be pleased with this release, but nothing more. This is a good start, but definitely needs some improvement. Soon you will get more of Chaosbreed, because this is all part of upcoming album, entitled "Brutal"... Stay Brutal!