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Good in a Strange Way - 69%

GuntherTheUndying, April 12th, 2011

Weighing in at four dudes and some lyrical psychosis, Pale Chalice hails from the temperate nation of doom known as the United States. The band’s “Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation” EP looks appealing from the initial freshness it radiates among the storm of Xasthur clones and Leviathan prophets which contaminate the USBM scene with their whiny gimmicks and powerless music. Pale Chalice immediately drowns the listener in raw, pounding black metal the instance “Transplant of Dimensional Recourse” begins its dark and puzzling expedition into unexplainable bends and shadows that HP Lovecraft would love. There is some extra baggage included in the EP, but not enough to restrain Pale Chalice’s unsolvable algorithm.

The four-song EP pretty much revolves in a similar fashion, with each cut gushing harsh black metal glazed in bizarre arrangements which carry on for a hefty length of time. Most of the band's attack revolves around tremolo riffs and leads, blast beats, shrieking vocals, grooving mid-paced quarters, and really anything else you can think of that procreates aggressive black metal. What Pale Chalice lacks in upfront originality they reinforce by way of uncharacteristic instrumentality and song writing that provokes a number of situations and feelings, most of which are driven by medium-speed sections and smoking black metal layered through speed and strength. Every track goes through a multitude of alterations despite getting a little sloppy at times; nothing guilty of a capital crime, although it occasionally gets out of hand.

"Transplant of Dimensional Recourse" ignites Pale Chalice's grim astrology nicely, utilizing a number of hooks and atmospheric vibes that prove worthy of such abstraction. The EP's finest moments emerge during "Command of the Formless," a massive black metal portrait emphasizing a unique collaboration of strange riffs and arrangements which roll and churn for over eight minutes of shapeless sanguinity. "Caressed by the Feeble Flame" works well overall, but its intro riff is phenomenal and easily its finest moment. "Ascend the Idyllic Sphere" has some great riffs and leads tossed in its circular rotation, but the nine-minute mammoth drops the ball somewhere within the endless drifting of thunderous nihilism; still a good song, but certainly the weakest one here.

Sometimes they seem pretentious, inept, and perhaps a trifle miscalculated, but “Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation” at least has the stamp of four dudes that aren’t afraid to morph the premise of black metal in the midst of weird configurations and spine-chilling freakiness which dominates Pale Chalice’s voyage. The band is skinning some fine riffs and ideas more often than not, although a cluster of designs are lost in the tangled, jumbled equation of the EP’s longer tracks. I’m still quite impressed by the posture and willingness Pale Chalice bolsters throughout their miniature release despite its occasional plunge, so definitely give this thingy a shot if you typically yearn for eerie, twisted black metal.

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