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The Apocalyptic Future of Our Favourite Thrash - 91%

bayern, December 15th, 2013

France has made a name for itself as the country of wine and the Eiffel Tower, but I think it’s time it adds another asset to the advertising tourist brochures: inventive forward-thinking metal. The fanbase has already experienced the mind-scratching musical landscapes of Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Gojira, etc., but the tapestry kind of looks incomplete with pieces from the thrash metal spectre missing. The obscure wizards Droys produced something truly memorable in the mid/late-90’s, but they quietly sank without a trace (some sources hint at a possible alien abduction?) leaving the job unfinished…

But here come these macabre “astronauts” from the unforeseeable apocalyptic future to present a template of what our favourite music could possibly sound like at some point in time. They landed first secretly in 2007 with the misleadingly titled debut “Presence of the Past”, but its truly occult status only reached the ears of a few initiated connoisseurs. For those who wanted to dig deeper into the mystery remained the challenge of deciphering the band’s name, esoterically abbreviated in those early days (C.H.R.Y.S.E.I.S.) to a more disorienting effect, and the more persistent ones managed to come up with the following: Consortium of Human Resistants from Yuggoth for the Search and Exploration of Irregular Systems.

Needless to say, this definition hardly threw any light at what music would befall the listener here, but once the precise mechanical shreds reached the ears wrapped in deep atmospheric undercurrents with elusive hints at progressive depths to be reached at some stage in the not yet drawn future, one would have no choice, but to agree that at least the band name somewhat justifies the complex, highly non-conventional musical approach.

The year is 2010 now, and the “extraterrestrials” from Yuggoth are back on Earth for the next installment from the apocalyptic saga. Now they make sure the music reaches a bigger number of ears by also knowing that not many would be those who would really get the message hidden underneath another portion of abstract robotic musical landscapes. But, after all, this is not a message for all ears…

Enough with the introduction to the science-fiction novel I’m writing at the moment (joking, of course). Now seriously: the band engulf their visionary approach in an abrasive industrialized miasma which still is not an impediment for the listener to savour the clever ultra-complex nature of the riffage which overwhelms him/her from the very first composition, “Twilight of the Mutants”, which sounds like the most logical, "mutated" continuation of Coroner’s “Mental Vortex” served with a hefty futuristic twist. The brooding mid-paced delivery already presented on the debut seems intact here as the atmospheric throw-ins are a bit more frequent as well as the beautiful lead sections the latter the sole relievers from the prevalent fairly complicated environment.

The heavy riff-patterns, albeit the dominant tendency, hardly hold a boring moment due to their constantly technical nature wisely spiced by some digressions: the short bass-driven instrumental “Where the Fungi Blossom”, the beautiful quiet interlude on “Andromeda Hypnosis”, and last but not least, the fine attempt at more dynamic performance “Hunter of the Twin Moons” which thrashes quite wildly at some point. Mentioning the bass, it takes quite a space here its support growing into several passages where it plays the main role to a pretty positive impression “duelling” with the expert leads on almost every track. It’s only missing from the other idyllic piece, the nice lead-driven instrumental “Weird Beauty of the Lonely Planet” which is superseded by the supreme technical riff-fest “Alien Orbital Cenotaph” which alone testifies that the thrash metal fans should have no fear about the future metamorphosis of their favourite music. Well, the following “Last Journey of a Spectral Voyager” may come as a surprise being an overlong dreamy melancholia (prepare for nearly 11-min of it) where dark, mostly conventional, guitars intertwine with balladic atmospheric sprawls the latter greatly supported by again standout lead layouts which are simply a wonder to listen to.

The drowsiness settled on this gigantic opus gets dissipated immediately by the exiting duo of sharp technical thrashers where the virtuosity of the aforementioned Swiss masters blends with the modern harsher aesthetics of mid-90’s Voivod and the Canadians Obliveon. And again the leads; they’re pretty much the highlight on this effort, the light in this passionless apocalyptic “tunnel”, which form a never heard before symbiosis with the incessant steam-rolling riff-section: for further and final proof of their brilliance check the closing spacey instrumental “Morphogenesis“ where their oblivious fusion-like character may make you pensive and meditative, but in a good way.

And a few words about the messenger: the entity’s throat knows no rest as his brutal low-tuned death metal growls would be not very easy to decipher, and would hardly make too many humans stop and listen. With a bigger effort on the side of the listener, he/she may find some distant resemblance between this unearthly approach and the subdued, mean-ish semi-recitals of Ron Royce (Coroner again). Still, one may easily learn to focus on the music by bypassing the vocals: there’s so much to concentrate on those labyrinthine guitar tapestries that the vocal support may as well remain unnoticed for most of the time…

(back to this science-fiction novel of mine)

Well, we survived the second invasion; our dear planet is pretty much alive… still. The message was delivered, it was heard by those who were meant to hear it, and the (un)invited guests from Yuggoth are back to their distant planet. Will they visit us again? Very likely provided that they failed to lay us “dead” this time like they wanted to… To stay on the safe side, I suggest we cast a casual glance (and also an ear) up to the sky for any signs of their next descent. Until then, we should at least have a peace of mind that our favourite thrash seems in very good hands somewhere out there…