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Swedish black metal for dummies - 45%

Witchfvcker, January 19th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, 12" vinyl, Daemon Worship Productions (Limited edition, 2 colors)

In their ten years of existence the Swedish band Chalice Of Blood have released a demo and a couple of splits. It’s therefore understandable that they remain steeped in obscurity, a fact that’s likely to remain unchanged by the release of their first EP Helig, Helig, Helig. If Swedish black metal had an instruction manual, I would put money on Chalice Of Blood reading it back to back at regular intervals. As is par for the course, the members are anonymous and there is little available info about the band, although they still maintain a Facebook-page.

Kicking off the EP with a melodic bent, introductory track “Hoor-Paar-Kraat” retraces the muddy footprints of IXXI. This more melodious inclination is soon pushed to the background, however, as the meat of Helig, Helig, Helig is pure generic black metal marching under the banner of orthodoxy. Riffs are borrowed or adapted from superior acts, the blastbeats are too high in the mix, and the vocals are merely serviceable. As an example, the 7 minutes long “The Communicants” is built around a single, admittedly decent riff. What sounds like it’s building towards something potentially good, ends up with only a slight change of pace in the drumming around the five-minute mark, and limps towards a half-assed ending. Seeing as it’s been eight years since the band’s last new recording, this feels remarkably lazy.

The most aggravating aspect of Chalice Of Blood is that they are clearly capable black metal musicians, despite their complete lack of originality. Proclaiming oneself “orthodox” is hardly an excuse for reveling in musical clichés without bringing anything to the table, and as a result Helig, Helig, Helig is a completely redundant piece of black metal. Listeners with a craving for satanic Swedish sermons clearly have better options than Chalice Of Blood, including Ofermod, Funeral Mist, or even Marduk.


Written for The Metal Observer

Chalice Of Blood – Helig, Helig, Helig - 72%

powerblack, January 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, 12" vinyl, Daemon Worship Productions (Limited edition, 2 colors)

Chalice of Blood, a band locating from Sweden has marked almost a decade of their existence. Not known to many black metal enthusiasts, moreover the band members also disguise their identities to public; however, the band has not released anything remarkable yet. The band has only a demo released back in 2005, which has been followed by several split releases. Chalice of Blood has an EP on pipeline, entitled 'Helig, Helig, Helig', which is to be released on Daemon Worship Production.

Chalice of Blood plays orthodox black metal, somewhat similar to Orcivus, Ofermod, early Funeral Mist or Watain. Obviously these resemblances don’t explain what’s going on this 20 minute release. The band has some flourishing melodies to offer with usual grim black metal background.

The EP starts off with a melodic tremolo riff, followed by harmonized guitar notes on an intro titled as 'Hoor-Paar-Kraat'. The intro certainly sets the mood for a chaotic black metal experience as 'Nightside Serpent' breaks in. The guitar tones are sharp, tremolo picked and even there are breakdowns and clean guitars. The clean guitar sections are particularly pretty well timed and also mixed brightly (Transcend the Endless for example). The best part about the guitars are they actually pull on a good, solid background for a black metal release. The rhythm section is not pretty noteworthy, but some riffs are really good and well executed (Shemot and Transcend the Endless). The bass guitars are although buried under guitar tones, but they do make the sound and atmosphere heavy. The distorted bass lines could be heard properly as the guitar breaks down (Shemot, The Communicants). The drums are straightforward, typical blasts yet there are some long, nicely composed fills. The vocal does some great deliveries throughout. There’s not much variation on vocal style, the singer keeps shrieking on lyrics passionately. The vocals are a bit low in the mix, giving more place for the music to fit in. The mixing is done pretty well, with a strong production without hurting the atmosphere, resulting in a solid sound.

Now about the demerits of the album. Reinstated that, the album is pretty solid in sound. But there is certainly a lack of originality. There’s nothing exceptional the listener can expect but mid paced black metal, which is obviously an evidential orthodox release. Another down point I can state about is, the band somewhat slipped to execute the ideas they planned. For example, the track 'The Communicants' has some redundant moments in it. However, that’s acceptable for the good melodies the band has provided afterwards.

To finish with, 'Helig, Helig, Helig' is overall an admirable record with a solid sound, but lacks the originality somewhat. However, this EP can be claimed as a good start for Chalice Of Blood’s upcoming journey. The EP is recommended for the fans of bands like Watain, Ofermod, Nefandus or more elaborately, fans of Swedish black metal.

Highlights: Transcend the Endless, Shemot.

Originally written for Venustas Diabolicus.