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I think that I'm preaching to the choir to some extent here. Instrumentals are good in theory- singers tend to be the weak link in most bands, after all- but they're very, very hard to pull off. I'm sure we all have our pet examples of ones that work, and work really well; Call of the Ktulu and Altered Course by Isis would be the ones I'd single out. Compare the number of successes to failures, though, and you arrive at the conclusion that it's hard as hell to do. Hard as hell to maintain good narrative flow, to suggest a storyline and/or at least a good climax and resolution without that particularly human touch that's someone forcing out air out their throat via their vocal cords.
Chasm try their best to buck the trend, but for the most part they confirm the general idea that instrumentals don't work. I dig their approach- using vocals as a punctuation point and keeping them as signposts in the middle of long, treacherous treks. But there's a tendency to skip on the signposts and just get lost; which would be fine in, say, a krautrock context, but isn't terribly useful when you're trying to pull off some tightly arranged death metal epics.
Everything ticks along in an orderly fashion that's somewhere between techy and "neoclassical"- it's not brain drill but there's certainly more music theory than in a mortician album. The quickest way to describe this album perhaps is "Iron Maiden discovering the diminished scale and Morbid Angel". Anyway, the main problem with this album, basically, is that without regular vocals things follow a somewhat pointless ebb and flow throughout- riff patterns build, repeat a few times, culminate in a flurry of drum pyrotechnics, and then reset to another vaguely techy deal. The riffs aren't bad, the ideas are solid, but you'll likely find your attention span severely tested.
That's not helped by the two other problems that are throughout this album- the guitar tone and the song length. I'm reluctant to say that the guitar tone is bad- but it's very, very clean and somewhat gutless, and saps the riffs of the guttural punch that they require, especially when they're building towards a climax. Nile are the example I'd tend to use here- many a pointless blast fest in their back catalogue, but at least the guitar tone adds some weight to what would otherwise be some fairly average riffs. Chasm may try to rock out rather hard but you can't really tell; everything's given a polite sheen that removes every ounce of hostility and brutality that is so central to any death metal record. And yeah, the song length. When all the factors are put together- long form songwriting that tends to go nowhere, a clean and overly polished production that robs the tunes of any power they might have, AND the long songs- well, it all ends up being a fairly punishing, attention-span-sapping listen.
You get the feeling that with another distortion pedal turned on and the songs condensed into, say, 5 minutes of furiously swirling riffs, well, there's no reason why this couldn't be fantastic. Chasm can clearly play their instruments and they can riff fairly hard. They just can't do it in the form of 10 minute long semi-instrumentals. As you can probably tell from this review I'm reluctant to diss the band too hard; it certainly strikes me that they attempted something fairly new and bold and they deserve a pat on the back for that- but little else. You know it's a fairly tame death metal if you forget the album's on and end up playing Minecraft halfway through the first song.
The Chasm is a band that I've continuously failed to understand....or rather, failed to understand why they receive even half of the praise that's endlessly showered upon them. What is it about this band that metalheads find so damn interesting and so damn fascinating? Is it the long "epic" compositions? I suppose this is a significant factor, yes. Is it the lyrics (or themes)? Perhaps, but some of the songs are lacking such an important dimension to them, especially on the release here in question; Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm. This factor is probably a much more important issue than many people would ever realize. Nearly half of Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm ('Farseeing' from now on) is instrumental....yes, instrumental. In death metal, instrumental albums are practically unheard of (yeah, I'm sure they exist, whatever), and there is a really good god damn reason for this, too, that I will explain shortly. The Chasm's style can be described as an epic/progressive interpretation on dark death metal like Incantation, I suppose, and to me that's kind of akin to taking perfection and fucking it all up on purpose. And sure enough, I hate it. Incantation-styled death metal needs nothing of the progressive or the epic, and evidence of this can be seen on the new record by--you guessed it!--Incantation. So to summarize, there are a few major issues I have with The Chasm in general that virtually render them systematically unenjoyable for me. Not only is Farseeing no different, it is perhaps the most guilty offender as regards to these issues in their entire discography. The first major issue--their long meandering songwriting that goes absolutely nowhere, as I mentioned above--is probably the factor that most kills The Chasm from my perspective. The second is their lack of lyrics, and resultant lack of vocals, in some songs (Farseeing being particularly guilty of this offense). Another major problem with The Chasm is that their riffs just aren't very good or very interesting (or very brutal) to me -- they feel disjointed and somewhat randomly pieced together. The last major problem is that all of this takes place on an album with a running time of over one hour.... ugh.... far too long and far too bloated.
Unfortunately, The Chasm insist on writing longer drawn out songs and on Farseeing this aspect to their songwriting is most apparent. There are no songs under 6 minutes, aside from one interlude, and there are two that clock in at over 11 minutes (one of these being an instrumental). These two songs feel the most aimless and directionless, although the entire album feels this way. "Vault to the Voyage" suffers from every single major issue mentioned in my opening paragraph. Lack of lyrics, vocals, direction and the riffs are anything but interesting or brutal. The riffs actually feel rather floaty and feathery, as if they are being taken off into random directions by an erratic wind, lacking the bloodthirsty pummeling driving ferocity that a band like Incantation never fails to deliver. They also fail to build any kind of suspense, or actual noticeable, meaningful progression, but just meander on for the 11+ minute running time and I find myself losing interest rather quickly, scarcely able to pay attention even after a few minutes have gone by. The riffs don't feel like they belong together very well either, like in "Vault to the Voyage," they just switch back and forth from riff to riff rather suddenly and randomly, and the transitions don't flow or make much sense, which in turn also kills any potential for proper suspense, progression or build-up. The riffs in Farseeing feel thrashy and melodic in nature most of the time, with many leads, and this plays a major part in undermining the darkness (and brutality?) that The Chasm is assumedly trying to construct.
Now as for the lack of lyrics, some might say; what the hell is the big deal about this? They'll probably also say, "I bet you don't even read half the lyrics of the bands you listen to anyway!" -- and they aren't completely wrong here. Although, I do read a lot of the lyrics, even for death metal bands, especially for death metal bands where I am thoroughly interested in the subject matter (see: Macabre), or are known to write powerful, meaningful lyrics (see: Immolation). Good lyrics are like the nice warm bread you receive (with butter, of course) after only a few minutes of waiting at a fancy restaurant -- necessary? Of course not, but such a lovely little delight, if you so choose to partake, which I often do (and want to). I can see my critics (I don't really have any) now saying; "A-hah! But what about those bands that just write silly goofy lyrics, for either entertainment, or to be as gory and ridiculous as possible?" Well, if you are into those bands, I think you ought to be aware that the lyrics aren't going to be of Shakespearean quality and I can accept that to a degree. Although, if they get too damn silly or dumb it tends to kill my enjoyment of those bands as well. However, there is a larger issue as a result of The Chasm not writing lyrics for some songs on Farseeing; lack of vocals. A lot of the power emanating from death metal spews forth from the vocals adding another dimension of rhythmic brutality that is already severely lacking in Farseeing due to the nature of the riffs (and possibly due to the production, which is exceedingly clean and clear). Mortician is a great example where vocals make a massive difference by adding extra brutal bass-y rhythms and a touch of atmosphere. I mean, can you imagine an 11 minute Mortician instrumental (or song)? Perhaps you don't want to, and I don't either. Obviously Mortician is a far cry from The Chasm stylistically, but I think you get my point. A lack of vocals on long drawn-out songs that are already deficient in the brutality department only serve to make things far worse, and an even greater test of my patience. Even when there are vocals, I don't find them particularly impactful or powerful, especially since they seem to be mixed lower with a thin echoey sound to them.
I've gone into the riffing already in the context of songwriting, but perhaps I'll take a look at them from a slightly different perspective, briefly. Well, it's rather simple.... they just aren't very good. The riffs are thrashy, yet boring with unmemorable melodies, a lot of airy feathery leads that I find annoying and distracting, and just a general lack of heaviness everywhere. I feel no weight hardly at all from any of them, maybe this is an issue with the guitar tone or the production. I can certainly say that the production doesn't serve to generate heaviness or brutality (which is, again, made doubly worse with the tracks that lack vocals), due to how crystal clear and polished everything sounds -- while also lacking a strong prominent low-end. I suppose I could go on to cite examples of specific riffs, but I don't really see the point, because it's generally a problem with the entire album from start to finish. The trick would be finding a riff that doesn't have any of the issues I've stated above. Just throw on any song and you'll see what I mean pretty much right from the start.
And to top off all of the issues I've mentioned above, Farseeing just goes on and on for far too damn long. The album is one hour and two minutes in length, and it becomes an epic test of endurance for me to reach the end in a single sitting. To get through it, I often end up barely paying any attention to what's going on, since the album bores me far more than silence. Scarily, this isn't their longest album, although it suffers from the least amount of lyrics (and vocals) and the longest songs, which makes it worse.
I will grant that The Chasm have their style, more or less, well refined and their vision clearly constructed -- but it's simply not for me. I will also grant that they're skilled musicians and their performances are solid. However, there are far too many glaring issues with their style and songwriting for me to get any enjoyment at all out of the band. It's rare for me to (dare I say) hate a death metal band as much as I do The Chasm, but they manage to do just about everything wrong from my perspective. So, if you love your death metal armed with heavy doses of brutality, darkness and morbidity like I do, then I wouldn't recommend Farseeing, because it's severely lacking in all those crucial categories.
If you’re not familiar with The Chasm and you call yourself a death metal fan then I kindly request that you stop reading and do whatever it takes to procure their albums. Otherwise, you are truly missing out. Easily one of the most prolific extreme metal exports from Mexico, these guys play some of the most creative and adventurous death metal you’re ever likely going to hear.
What immediately separates them from lesser bands is their tempered approach to songwriting. Every one of their albums is an adventure itself, with each track so multifaceted, and so ridiculously layered that you’ll encounter something new and fresh every time you listen. Talk about conviction. The Chasm takes their music very seriously, and it clearly shows. For starters, one of the things you should always expect from any of their albums is to be completely drenched in atmosphere. It’s amazing to consider that all of this is the product of guitars, and goes to show that you don’t need to rely on cheesy symphonics to create something otherworldly (Nocturnus I’m looking at you. Love you guys but still…). As I said, the real magic lies within their ingenious songwriting. You can tell a lot of time has been invested to ensure that the final product is completely honed to perfection. Everything from the drums to the riffs has been expertly crafted for your enjoyment. Another unique feature are how the riffs transition, which are done so seamlessly and fluidly that the whole album becomes almost malleable. Really, I don’t know how Daniel Corchado does it, but the way these riffs ebb and flow is something most bands wouldn’t be able to get right even if their lives depended on it.
Now that I’m done describing the general sound of The Chasm, I will now move onto reviewing their newest creation, Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm. The most notable change would be that the vocals only appear on half the album. I’m not entirely sure what was the motive behind such a change but I assume it was done to allow listeners to better focus on the instrumentation. It is also worth noting that this is probably their most complex offering yet, with heaps of different time signatures and tempo shifts. That’s not to say this is a very technical album, but an incredibly non-linear one to say the least. Of course, none of this would be possible without the dazzling drumming courtesy of Antonio Leon. The amount of snare tricks, cymbal works and double bass action all serve to keep tight and varied rhythm section. While I’ve always been fond of his drumming on past albums, here he shows what he’s really capable of. There are even times where I get flashes of Steve Flynn (Atheist) behind the kit.
Killer drumming aside, I’m particularly won over by Corchado’s impressive riff craft. His playing covers a myriad of styles, ranging from Teutonic thrash to doom, to progressive to old-school death and to even traditional heavy metal. This album should please just about almost everyone who has a good ear for quality riffs. Also responsible for vocal duty, Corchado impresses once again with his characteristic intimidating snarl. There’s not a lot diversity regarding his performance, but for such an esoteric brand of death metal it fits just like a glove. In an age of cookie-cutter death metal, FTPA plays like a blast of ice-cold Gatorade down a parched throat. The level of mastery, originality and conviction is enough for The Chasm to distance themselves from practically any other death metal band out there at the moment. The previous three were all masterpieces in their own right but this one just might take the cake. Visionary, daring and thoroughly engrossing FTPA is a class all in its own, and remains one of the most definitive statements from the band. Absolutely mandatory.
Riffs, man. Fucking riffs.
That’s a good way to describe this album. But to do this album true justice, more detail is necessary. The Chasm have been around for awhile, releasing quite a few great albums, but for me, their 2009 offering Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm has them at the top of their game, resulting in an album full of excellent riffing, creative song structures, and a very textured sound. All of this adds up to make one of the best death metal albums of the past decade.
For starters, this album only utilized vocals on half of the eight tracks here. Even when they are implemented, they’re surprisingly low in the mix relative to everything else (almost like Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal, just without raw production), which actually benefits the music by giving it a very distant feeling. This feeling is further accentuated by the slight layer of synths underneath that add an extra bit of atmosphere that ultimately helps this album achieve its goal. Still, the atmosphere is most defined by the riffs, which give remind me a bit of those on Nocturnus’ classic album The Key.
The riffs here aren’t just the kind of catchy old-school stuff that you’d hear from the likes of Impaled or Demigod, but instead also rely on subtle note changes to keep our attention. Many of the riffs are tremolo picked, and these are often emphasized further by a counter-melody by the other guitarist. In fact, the counterpoint going on here is crazy! Just listen to ‘Entering A Superior Dimension’ at 5:48 onward. EPIC! These riffs often lend well to the constant transitions, as evidenced in that same track. This track has The Chasm messing around with all types of riffs, from the tremolo picked ones I mentioned before, to the uber-catchy kind of riffs you might find in other forms of old school death metal, and they all just blend together so god damn well! This is like the anti-Opeth in terms of transitions!
Not to be overlooked is the drumming here. It may not be the focal point, but there is some outstanding drumwork on this album. There are lots of syncopated sections interspersed all over the album, and these are most effective while the guitarists are playing their counter-melodies. This just adds even more to the already dense textures that these musicians have created. In addition, I really like the sound that they got with their drum kit. Something about it sounds very organic to me for some reason (even though I know that drums tend to be the least organic part of music these days).
But back to the riffs… man, these are good. Just listen to a song like ‘Fiery Rebirth’ or ‘Structure Of The Seance,’ the latter of which happen to be one of the most awesome tracks on an album filled with awesome tracks. I can hear riffs from almost all styles of death metal, from the thrashier Florida sound to the tremolo-happy Swedish sound. This diversity in riff style, in conjunction with great songwriting, is ultimately what separates The Chasm from pretty much all of their contemporaries. Yet in a way, they also separate themselves from the bands that they draw inspiration from by being such a great amalgamation of death metal awesomeness.
There really isn’t much more to say about this masterpiece. This is certainly not a collection of songs to be listened to individually, but instead a whole experience to be had. The otherworldly atmosphere, combined with excellent songwriting, make this album an undeniable classic.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/
Granted, I haven't heard Procession to the Infraworld or Conjuration of the Spectral Empire, I really feel that this is the best release from The Chasm yet.
The overall sound is very similar to The Spell of Retribution, but this time it feels much more obscure. It feels cold and desolate, whereas the previous releases had a bit more fire and brimstone. Furthermore, The Spell of Retribution seemed to have too many ideas on it, and the songs just kind of dragged on in parts, whereas this doesn't.
The most striking feature of this album is that it is nearly instrumental. Normally, that would be big turn off, as the songs are all well over six minutes in length (minus the brief instrumental, "Farseeing"), but on here it works. When Daniel Corchado does decide to growl, it comes off low in the mix, almost as a strange, whispering narration. This also works in favour of the album's obscure feeling. It's not unlike Burzum or Blut Aus Nord in design, but the riffs are much more audible and traditionally metal.
The Chasm have always used an assortment of the best styles in metal (most notably vintage death and thrash metal), but Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm takes it a bold step further by injecting a strong psychedelic/progressive touch, which is evident in the music and the long structures. You still will find crushing thrash riffs, tremolo picking, and their unique usage of chords, so they aren't going in an Opeth direction at all. Each member of the band puts forth a stellar performance, especially drummer Antonio Leon. This man makes up for his lack of blast beats and pure speed by his sheer mastery of the drum kit. Just the drums are a pleasure to hear.
From the Lost Years will always hold a very dear place in my heart, but this is arguably better. This album does, however, require a solid attention span, as it projects more of a morbid mood than furious kicks to your face and neck. It is a trip to the some unknown, desolate and forbidding place.
Is this some kind of joke? Why haven't I heard about these guys before? Do they even exist? I mean, maybe a secret society composed by 1000 of the most influential headbangers has worked for the last 15 years in order to develop the ultimate metal album. But then, why didn't it reach the mainstream? That sounds like FBI stuff. Yes, that must be it. People died by listening to it for too long and forgetting to eat or drink...
I got into metal five years ago, and since then I have been looking for the perfect metal album. I listened to Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and every other traditional I could, and although "Wishmaster" and "Somewhere in Time" were close to being perfect, none of them was completely free of mistakes. Then I turned my attention to new, innovative stuff like Dragonforce and Nightwish, searched among different styles and genres, but there although I found some impressive albums, none of them was perfect. There was always something to be improved, or at least a "but" to be inserted somewhere.
By the time I was giving up, I found out about The Chasm in a disambiguation page in Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia's article, The Chasm was merely "a death metal band originally from Mexico". Well, the name was interesting and the logo was good, so when I didn't have anything better to do, I downloaded their latest album, "Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm". When I began to listen to it, my jaw dropped. The metal album that I dreamed of for years was there.
And what a weird album this is. First of all, this is not a death metal recording. Instead, "Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm" seems to be influenced by a wide range of metal subgenres, varying from doom metal to progressive metal. The Chasm created its own style while using everything good that each genre had to offer. They have the aggression of thrash metal, the slow tempo of doom metal, the complexity of death metal and an unique atmosphere, created by this band and until now not reproduced by anyone else.
Nothing feels out of place here: the guitars are slow and heavy, but always ready to create a fast or beautiful melody. The bass is completely audible and very involved with the drums, which along with the almost omnipresent guitar polyphonies give the album creates an otherworldly and calm atmosphere, which is somehow incredibly evil. The evilness is often complemented by the vocals, which are so well produced that they sound like the voices of cosmic, mysterious beings trying to communicate with you. The Chasm doesn't use blast beats here. Instead, they tend to focus on creating new rhythms thorough the songs, and refuse to stick to a single, consistent beat for more than a minute.
From beginning to end, the riffs kill. The solos kill. The drums kill. And the bass is always there, consistent and powerful, helping with all that killing. While listening to this album, minutes turn into seconds. There is no "boredom" in this full-length. There are no "Highlights", no ups or downs, no average songs. The album is a complex masterpiece: every song is unique, yet plays a major role in the structure of the recording.
Another interesting thing about this album is that the vocals play a secondary role. They are well produced, but most of the times you don't need them in order to be carried along with the music. The Chasm seems to understand that well: in a lot of songs there are simply no vocals, but it is impossible to feel like something is missing. Most of the songs speak by themselves, and the band understands (and respects) that.
I am honestly surprised that the best metal album I have ever seen (and perhaps the best I will ever see) came from an underground, Mexican death metal band. These guys are very underrated (by the public, not by the critics), and I hope they break into the mainstream someday. As for me, I will continue to search for good bands, in hopes of finding something comparable to the geniality of this CD.
The Chasm; what is this band all about? Which category does it fall into? Let us assume that there are two kinds – the ones who make 4-5 minute long songs and keep it short and sweet; and the ones who like to push the envelope when it comes to structuring their usually long songs. The answer is, neither. Or perhaps, both. You see, the problem with bands that fall into category ‘a’ is that they can get repetitive, or they run their course faster than you’d first expect. The problem with category ‘b’ is that they require you to be in a specific mood. In order to fulfil their creative goals they become so un-catchy that you just can’t press play and start banging your head. Like anything else, they both have their merits, and they both have their demerits.
This band however, it seems, aims to reduce the chasm between fans who have specific preferences between the above described types; for they triumphantly present the listener with the best of both worlds. Hence, the hundred percent. Instead of using a plethora of adjectives to account for their riffs, solos and progressions, let me try and compare it with something that might give you an adequate description of their overall sound and feel. In many ways, I find this band parallel to Manilla Road. The progressive sensibilities of composition, the broad range of guitar work, the instrumental clarity, the compliments shared between the bass guitar and the bass drums, and the constant rolls and shuffles that refuse to stick to one consistent beat; are just some of the qualities that make Manilla Road different from other traditional heavy metal acts. Such is the relationship between The Chasm and other traditional death metal acts. How conveniently (and convincingly, if I may add) these two bands make their core genres look second class, is something to think about.
Yet another ground on which they can be called similar, is their consistency. The Chasm, despite not being Swedish (the commonly understood masters of the genre), rather, Mexicans, have their first full length dated way back in 1994. Having released as many as seven albums (this one being the seventh) since then, the band is stronger than ever. Coming back, I believe it’s my duty to also inform the readers that only four of the eight songs present here have lyrics. The reason why I mention this so late is because it’s too unimportant and I didn’t want it to act as an agent of discouragement. Ask someone who took five listens to figure that out. :/
When I contacted Daniel Corchado (the leader of this unique band) asking to answer an interview, he refused, claiming that he doesn’t do it anymore, since he prefers to let the music speak for itself. Well, this album is really a proof of what he told, since only 4 out of the 8 songs here have lyrics, so most of the time it’s instrumental. But guess what? It’s so greatly sounding that you will forget that there are no vocals most of the time once you listen to the album and there’s no feeling that something is actually missing!
Contrary to other bands (e.g. Usurper) that split up after being kicked from Earache since their albums didn’t sell well – The Chasm created an album of even higher standards than “The Spell of Retribution” from the point of view of both the songwriting and the production, without any help from a label (L.I. is Daniel’s own label)! You can hear EVERYTHING clearly, but the sound is just good and not sterile in a gay way. The artwork is their best in my opinion so far, but thinking about it – they’ve always been one of the very few bands, whose Photoshop-made artworks DIDN’T suck!
As for the music itself – as usual, expect for some complex and unusual Heavy Metal of Death from the cosmic abyss, as no other band on Earth has ever done before! It’s too complex to just describe it by “great riffs/solos”, but they’re definitely there. If you’ve never heard this band before – this is a great introduction to The Chasm’s unique style, and if you have – you probably got the idea. The lyrics is also an interesting aspect as (un)usual, dealing with Daniel’s inner thoughts and struggles, twisted cosmic visions and other not so clear stuff that probably only Mr. Corchado knows exactly what it means.
To me at least – lines like “No defeat, no surrender, and as the golden fire responds to my will, (you must) remember that nothing can change the past, forever we are, to roam in this curse…”, “No matter how many consequences have arrived, there is no looking back, always forging onwards” or “And so when I reach the chimerical oceans, timeless monoliths of hate, infuriating my cryptic devotion” reflects the essence of The Chasm, as a band that keeps struggling for their existence and always passing through all the trenches on their way (relocation to the US, getting backstabbed by “friends” and labels etc.). These lyrics also contribute to the obscure aura that already covers the music and adds another layer of mysteriousness.
I could keep writing even more and trying to give a better description of what FTPA is all about, but to sum it up – this is probably their best release since the classic “Deathcult to Eternity” and the ultimate proof that this band only gets stronger as the years pass. It’s not something like a “Cannibal Corpse inspired band” that you know how they sound before you even hear them, but something one must listen to in order to understand. Buy this album and hear what truly iron willed Death Metal is all about, take my word – you won’t regret unless you’re a wimp!
There are bands that are good, bands that are super-consistent and bands that continually rape the laws of reality by consistently releasing awesome album after awesome album. The Chasm is better than any of those, and I was so excited about their new album Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm that I went and bought the damn thing without hearing a note of it, sure that my favorite Death Metal band would deliver. Let’s review this twisted beauty!
The Chasm as a band are known for taking a standard 90s Death Metal formula a la Morbid Angel or Autopsy and doing it up with complex, epic Traditional Metal bits and adding longer, more elaborate instrumental passages. They write challenging music, but not so challenging that the average Death Metal fan can’t get into them with a few hard listens. They’re the kind of band that everyone who loves extreme metal should be able to appreciate. They’re aggressive, inventive and fucking brilliant riff-writers. Farseeing continues this trend with a sterling force.
This is a much faster, hungrier release than the band has done in years. Even the slower parts are more sparse, giving way to vitriol-fueled Iron Maidenesque riffing and occult feasts of melody that are quite simply too good to be true. The production is one thing I don’t like as much, as I miss the thick, encompassing sound of Spell of Retribution, but it’s not bad, and I can still enjoy this album even with its warmer, more hollow sound. The band amazingly makes even the slower, doomier parts sound fucking energized. It’s just completely full of this rawness, this dedication to arcane magic. It is something entirely new.
One thing they’ve really capitalized on is the instrumental passages. It’s so simple you become surprised that nobody thought of it earlier. Three of these eight tracks are complex riff-mastery without any of those pesky vocals to get in the way at all. (Disclaimer: I actually love this band’s vocals.) They are as winding and towering as the best Progressive Rock bands, but endowed with a sense of foreboding to them that is unique to Death Metal.
Another thing I noticed about this is that it’s very song-contained, not really being a complete mesh of ideas as Conjuration of the Spectral Empire was, but rather a sort of boiling, frothing cauldron; a strange spell-book of incantations read by a black-robed sorcerer that has been around for thousands upon thousands of years. Each track is rife with its own thematic and theatrics, booming with elaborate leads and riff-work, spliced with Daniel Corchado’s intoned rasping here and there for extra effect. I have to say that this is one of the album’s drawbacks, as it just isn’t as cohesive as the three that came before it – but that is splitting hairs; this is still an excellent album on its own.
“Entering a Superior Dimension” is not so much a song title as a description of what is happening to you as you press play. Witness the explosion of those riffs into your speakers from the silence of outer space! Witness the echoing, foreboding grunts of Corchado, who has never sounded better, and you will be sold right there. The melodies are ethereal and transcendent. There is no returning once you finish this song. The band continues to amaze with the chugging epic “Callous Specter/Vehement Oppression,” and then the blazing, spacey “Fiery Rebirth.”
The album’s best track can perhaps be found in the six minute tour-de-force “Structure of the Séance,” with its boiling melodies and vehement riff patterns. This song is just great – tell me you don’t remember that riff after the song ends and I’ll say you’re lying. “Vault to the Voyage” is classic, vintage The Chasm in the way that it is a return to the band’s earthly roots as a doomy, meandering epic band without any kind of restraint. You can really see their progression here as well, and how they have grown as musicians and songwriters since those early days. An eleven minute trip through time, space and the apocalypse, all in one. “The Promised Ravage” is the fastest song the band has ever done, sounding like the band is about to trip over themselves, but they never do. And all bow before the majesty of the wistful, encompassing sadness of the closing epic “The Mission/Arrival to Hopeless Shores.”
This really is a stunning return for the Death Metal conveyors of the ancient gods. I still don’t think it quite matches up to the amazing last three albums these guys did, but it comes close, and that’s really all you can say. Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm is epic, mystical, mighty and dark, standing on its own two feet and staking claim to more much-needed territory in The Chasm’s strange fields of bliss and gore. Truly, one of the best Death Metal albums 2009 has to offer. This will not disappoint.
It’s been said more often in the last couple of years that The Chasm are one of the best underground bands metal has to offer, that they deserve far more attention than they currently have. It would be a shame for them to provide a wider and eagerly awaiting audience with a disappointing album, but this is not so. Not even close.
It’s very difficult to describe such complex music. This album feels and acts like a typical Chasm release, but in actuality there is much progression in both music and production that makes this album transcend above their whole catalogue (although perhaps one can make claims that “Deathcult…” is still the superior album and I can humbly bow down to such sentiments).
All instruments hit you with crystal clarity, and overall the production is reminiscent of the previous album, “The Spell Of Retribution,” with a few differences that mean everything. The guitars are a touch colder, lacking in the same meaty warmth that the last album crushed you with. The bass and drums are far more involved, creating a deep and enveloping cavernous sound that contrasts the otherworldly guitars perfectly. It results in a sound that is both far-reaching and mystical, yet drowning in a deep vibe of cosmic evil. There are some tasteful synths to act as a bridge between the bass and guitars, as well as to occasionally enhance the vocals of Corchado, who sounds at times like he’s singing with a million ancestral souls in chorus. It is without a doubt the perfect production for an album of this calibre, conveying the music in a medium that is as much a cosmic voyage as the music itself.
And like all cosmic Chasm releases, every song featured here is an adventure through sorrow, chaos, bliss… triumph! One cannot simply describe a Chasm release with “good riffs” and “Grade A solos,” as even though they are present on this release they are only part of the bright and broad spectrum. The guitars intertwine between leads, chords, and riffs, while the bass and drums lay the epic and far-reaching groundwork to flatten you with. Speed is a dial with no end, with no “thrash” being overused or any “doom” underplayed. This is how The Chasm play, except this time it’s even more developed. Songs seem to flow like a symphony, with perfect transitions and tempo changes, as if being away for five years has only allowed them to perfect what might seem like an already perfected style. No, this band just keeps getting better and better at what they do.
There are quite a few surprises on this album as well, passages and experimentation you’d never thought they’d venture into. The final section of “A Fiery Rebirth” is probably the most profound, going into a bizarre and almost psychedelic trance of fast riffing over slow drumming. The opening passage to “Structure of the Seance” is incredibly chaotic with frenetic drumming and the trademark Chasm open-note chord riffing. Clearly they’re not about to pigeonhole their own sound and fall into a chasm they can’t escape from. But above all, the album is half instrumentation. If you expect it to be boring you can rethink what you know about music, for The Chasm have done it with such flow and presence that the songs will go by without you even noticing a lack of vocals.
The final track, “Arrival To Hopeless Shores,” is the best song the album has to offer, taking the album to its most special climax. It’s not a fast and furious track, and the only mid-paced change in tempo occurs only towards the eight-minute mark. It is slow and brooding; with a vibe of pure evil all throughout the song, and the guitar work is just absolutely amazing. It’s like a guitar symphony of both harmony and dissonance, and it takes you places. The harmonic lead at the three-minute mark, repeated again at the end of the song, is a thing of serene beauty and perfection of melody. I swear I haven’t heard anything that good in years. This is perhaps the best song The Chasm have ever made.
They’ve come a long way. This is their seventh full-length release and they show no signs of failing or making any missteps. In fact, given the progression in sound and music they’ve achieved with this release, they’ve only opened the doors for a slew of exceptional releases to come. The initial pressing of this album was small, pitifully so, and in less than a month it has come and gone, and the second pressing has already arrived. I would encourage everyone to pick up this release and embark on another journey from the mighty CHASM.