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Somewhat Lacking. - 70%

Perplexed_Sjel, April 1st, 2010

Having left no stone unturned when it came to exploring Chaos Moon’s sophomore full-length, entitled ‘Languor into Echoes, Beyond’, I thought it was high time that that I delved into the bands debut as I had spent very little time getting to grips with it in comparison with how much I explored the sophomore, a record which was released within three months of the debut. Given this fact, I didn’t enter into the dark abyss of ‘Origin of Apparition’ with the expectation that this record would differ immensely from the debut. Instead, I firmly believed that the debut would sound almost identical to the sophomore and I was almost right. There are many similarities between ‘Origin of Apparition’ and the mesmerising ‘Languor into Echoes, Beyond’. In fact, there are very few differences between the two and yet, I still cannot manage to muster up the same levels of enthusiasm towards the debut as I do the ambient inspired ‘Languor into Echoes, Beyond’. This may be due to the lack of long, dark ambient passages which stress the importance of integrating some sense of beauty into a normally aggressive type of black metal, thus making it far more accessible to the ear, rather than irritating to the senses.

The additional information supplied suggests that this is seen as a counter record to ‘Languor into Echoes, Beyond’ and that goes some way to explaining why the two sound so similar. Although this may be the case, as I previously said, I cannot seem to find this record as agreeable as the sophomore, which appears to be more mature in its exploration of chaos, filth and sublimity. Songs such as the title track have a distinct wall-of-sound stylistic approach attached to them. Reminiscent in some ways to bands like Velvet Cacoon, or Wrath of the Weak, Chaos Moon’s main composer, named Esoterica (Void), is certainly a skilled musician when it comes to a sense of conviction and integrating atmospheric ambient passages into abnormally dark musical territories, as shown delightfully on the title track which showcases those whirlwind sounding guitars, disfigured by aggressive distortion, alongside what appears to be a monotonous, repetitious and standardised drum machine which lacks cohesion and grace, but appears to be settled beside the chaotic tremolo approach which dominates many of the songs, including the hostile ‘Outro, Endless Asphyxia’.

Songs such as the aforementioned do entertain the idea of slow moving ambient sections, but these aren’t as imperative to the record as they are on ‘Languor into Echoes, Beyond’, which highlights the importance of beauty through chaos with an excellent use of well known movies samples taken from ‘Memento’ during emotive epics like ‘Simulacrum of Mirrors’. Songs such as this and the immaculate ‘The Palterer’ are fine examples of what the sophomore could achieve, but the debut offers only one truly outstanding song in the form of ‘And So Are the Words That Never Made It I’ (though the second part of this particular song does, somewhat, produce a similar sound to that of the sophomore and songs like ‘The Palterer’ with an exquisite use of keyboards in the introduction) which, despite its use of a shallow percussion section, is the only song which forges out a feeling of longevity which the other songs fall short of achieving. The song highlights the importance of monstrous, but infectious riffs within a tightly compacted atmosphere that is rounded off well by the subtle keyboards which play such a significant role in the power of the song and the success of the sophomore.

This suggests that the usage of subtle keyboards could potentially transform a common, or generic black metal band into one of invention and sublime creativity simply through the use of touching keyboards which sprinkle a dash of sensitivity to the atmospheres, as delicately shown on ‘And So Are the Words That Never Made It II’. Much of Chaos Moon’s approach is all about sticking to traditions of sub-genres such as the depressive one, but the keyboards add that much needed sense of spark that is lacking from much of the approach play by the band in other areas, specifically in the percussion which relies too heavily of blast beats and aggression when the keyboards are looking to add a sense of texture. In my opinion, the vocals also lack in depth. They’re typical of the sub-genre of depressive black metal and are often overshadowed by the clumsy percussion, an element which isn’t helped by the constricting production, which gives the material a dense, enclosed feel, whilst the sophomore focuses on an open style, allowing even the percussion to express itself wonderfully alongside the cleaner guitars on songs like ‘The Palterer’. A decent enough debut, but not up to scratch in regards to the material on the sophomore.

Arcane Black Art - 95%

Vadoksog, November 29th, 2007

On “Origin of Apparition,” Chaos Moon run the full gamut of bleak and harrowed emotions, but it’s still an incredibly uplifting experience. Haunting and esoteric, these nine odes demonstrate a face of black metal that is rare in its juxtaposition of ugliness and beauty. One minute fierce and shrill; the next sublime and almost comforting, “Origin of Apparition” contains more variety and mood switches than most black metal bands’ entire careers. Yet, it’s the intense, frenetic, desperate/disparate aggression and dejected sense of hopelessness that shine through most. The title track in particular will rip your face off.

The controlled, chaotic vehicle of Esoterica (with a little help from collaborator Mark Hunter of Nostalgia) careers and slaloms through a veritable smorgasbord of downbeat vibes to generate a fearsome display of disgusting psychotic obscurity. Operating on such a high emotional level that it’s almost impossible to describe or analyze, “OoA” immediately established Chaos Moon as one of the most intriguing entities in the USBM scene. All in all, it’s a voyage I strongly advise you to take.

Certainly not what one would expect to hear from the traditional home of country music, CM have unleashed an innovative, spectacular, diverse and thoroughly essential opening shot. This is a companion piece to another Chaos Moon CD released simultaneously (“Languor into Echoes, Beyond”, on Ars Magna Recordings) and is a work of supreme, unique and groundbreaking art that can be filed confidently alongside the likes of Krohm, Xasthur, Silencer or Velvet Cacoon.

Chaos Moon doesn’t necessarily sound like any of those bands; but they’ve got that special aura. Mutilated, depraved black metal with occasional ambient touches, anybody?

Only you can prevent awful drum machine samples - 68%

Noktorn, November 25th, 2007

Chaos Moon is probably known to those reading this review as 'that one black metal band from Tennessee that released those two albums at the same time'. 'Origin Of Apparition' is the Wraith Productions side of the band's ambitious, simultaneous two-LP debut, with the other, 'Languor Into Echoes, Beyond', being released by another somewhat new but increasingly renowned label, Ars Magna Recordings. This half of the duo is composed of nine tracks of depressive, ambient-tinged black metal clocking in at nearly fifty minutes, and a cursory look at the tracklisting, which contains not just one, but two overarching multi-track arrangements, will show you just how ambitious this band is. In some ways, it's just the sort of thing you'd expect to come out of Wraith Productions: black metal that doesn't reinvent the wheel, but does its best to craft said wheel in a particularly well-rolling fashion.

The music on 'Origin Of Apparition' could actually be described as somewhat like another release on Wraith Productions: Absonus Noctis' 'Penumbral Inorgantia', though more openly and traditionally melodic and with a rather different atmosphere. The general mechanics are similar, though: black metal/dark ambient with an emphasis on extremely straightforward, single-minded delivery, minimalist construction of compositions, a large vocal presence, and ultra-cyclic song structures in the 'Transilvanian Hunger'-era Darkthrone vein. In this case, though, as opposed to the strange, atonal, meandering black metal that Absonus Noctis plays, Chaos Moon creates a more conventional breed of 'suicidal' black metal with lengthy dark ambient sections, which overall isn't a great deal different from a band such as Make A Change... Kill Yourself or Denmark's Angantyr in delivery. The general tempo of the music ranges from a mid-slow plod to high-speed blasting, but unlike most suicidal black metal bands, Chaos Moon actually excels much more at the former than the latter. Fitting the tempo, the band is also very good at crafting the delicate, minimalist ambient sections that the album is dotted with; far in excess of most black metal bands. The music at the best of times embodies a dismal sorcery like a fairytale gone not quite bad, but dull and listless due to endless days of rain and decay. It's a unique atmosphere that's very well employed at times.

The fast sections do not fare nearly as well. While the riffs throughout the album are quite strong, and the generally distorted vocals employed better than many bands of Chaos Moon's ilk, there is one thing handicapping the band's overall aesthetic: that of the perpetually ticking, clanging, unbearably noisy drum machine. I can hardly think of more inappropriate drum voices to employ on this album than those chosen, with extremely loud, brackish cymbals, rubbery bass drums, and snare that gets buried under the layers upon layers of Xasthuresque keys, such as on 'And So Are The Words That Never Made It. II' (ironically probably the best song on the album). Where the music succeeds the most is where the drum machine stops blasting, and, by extension, stops filling up the musical space and overriding the other instruments in the mix. The drum machine is the Nguyen Ngoc Loan to the album's Viet Cong soldier, and the fast parts are frequently a long, grotesque, point-black gunshot into the music's overall delivery.

But let's say you get past that most glaring of problems. Is the music worthwhile when you get down to it? I'd say that yes, it is, though with some reservations. Like most Wraith releases, Chaos Moon is not blazing new trails in the black metal wilderness. Most of the elements on 'Origin Of Apparition' have appeared in other locations, although they are frequently rearranged and appear in a somewhat new way, and I'm not entirely sure that the strength of such straightforward songwriting is always able to carry the band beyond other similarly unoriginal but well-crafted artists. When it works, it really works well: 'Pale Cast Of Thought' through 'Intro, Timeless Disease' is an extremely powerful block of songs, where the tempo is dropped and the depressive minor-key riffs are able to bleed through in full. The rest of the album is essentially a rollercoaster of quality, depending almost squarely on the ability of the riffs to overcome the noisy drum machine. Sometimes it works (the title track), other times not so much ('Illusions Of Dusk And Dawn'). But that middle block of songs is able to make what would have been a pretty average album into a pretty good one, all things considered.

The material on 'Origin Of Apparition' is not precisely up my alley, but it is fairly well executed overall. Those into the suicidal black metal scene who are seeking something slightly different would be advised to give this a try, as long as you're able to get past some of the more obvious aesthetic difficulties. They have a drummer for live performances, so I just hope to god they start using him on recordings.