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Paul Chain Ate My Brain - 100%

FinneganAwaken, January 18th, 2016

As far as I know, some Italians have a really unique approach to music. I spent some time watching old Dario Argento movies and even more time listening to their soundtracks composed and performed by a prog-rock group called Goblin. Having this band in mind I was not very surprised with the weirdness of Paul Chain's second album, although the level of that weirdness exceeded all my expectations.

All styles of music listed on Chain's Metal Archives profile do apply to this album. There is psychedelia, there is rock, there is even some doom metal in it and what's most important there is a lot of experimentation. The songs are highly repetitive but not boring. It's this hypnotic kind of repetitiveness that gives you a feeling that you're listening to a soundtrack from a movie about a regular guy who finds a magical toad that takes him to a strange alternative universe where humanoid mushrooms are dancing around a purple tree. Yes, I'm not kidding, it's that level of psychedelia, and while the first disc contains rather chilling songs the second one features several much more creepy ones like "Hypnosis"(imagine the purple tree transforming into a three-headed lizard) or "Casual Two Your Mister" (imagine the mushroom people eating each other's brains).

I don't know what kind of drugs Chain was on while composing and recording this album, but one think I do know - he created a real masterpiece. If you're searching for a legal equivalent of LSD, this album is the answer.

Enter the mind of Paul Chain - 99%

Doooom, June 22nd, 2009

Paul Chain has stood as a pillar in the Italian metal scene for over three decades, launching his cult career with the infamous Death S.S. Everything the man has touched is gold. Some of the best releases ever, doom or otherwise, have come from this man. Yet somehow he has remained under the radar and still to this day is relatively unknown amongst metal fans.

The album, overall, has a very jazzy and laid back feeling to it. That, however, is not all that is thrown into this mixing pot. There are so many influences on this record, some far more dominant than others. Chain draws influences from nearly everything. Influence ranging from classic rock, industrial, stoner rock, blues, folk, Italy, lasagna, awesome, great, who-knows-what, progressive rock, and even kraut rock can be heard. Every now and again the clear doom riff can heard amongst the mix of influences, but those moments are quite few and far in-between. Each of the tracks features a different blend of soundscapes and influences. Some tracks are far longer than others, but never does this one hour and forty minute epic get boring.

Violet Art Of Improvisation stands as the man’s most experimental release. This long passage through the (deranged) mind of Paul Chain starts with the monstrously long “Tetri Teschi In Luce Viola”, or when translated into English “Sad Skulls in Violet Light”. As one would expect from the title, there is a large amount of psychedelic influence in that particular track. It centers solely around the same rhythm that is repeated on guitar and drum every five seconds. Being a thirty one minute track, this must be excruciatingly boring, right? Not at all. Plenty of keyboards, synthesizers, electronic sounds, and lively guitar riffs sprinkle this half hour experimentation. It takes away focus from the rhythm. The rest of the album is very much the same way, with different styles thrown in.

As always with Mr. Chain, the strangest part of the music is the vocals. As has been mentioned over 9000 times on countless sites, Paul Chain’s language is a phonetic one. One doesn’t realize exactly how weird it is until they listen to it firsthand. The vocals are often mellow and in the background, most times resembling indecipherable English. On other releases by Paul Chain they are used as any vocalist would use their vocals. However, on Violet Art Of Improvisation, they are used purely for an ethereal effect to expand on the soundscapes.

Violet Art Of Improvisation is one of the weirdest pieces of art, let alone music, that has ever been made. It is pulled off exceptionally well, to an extent that it can be considered one of the greatest achievements in experimental/psychedelic rock. Imagine being on a boat floating endlessly to nowhere on soundscapes of pure psychedelia. This alternate reality created by Paul Chain is his best experimental piece of music. Violet Art Of Improvisation is not a release for everyone. There are very few traces of metal are to be found, and it must be approached from a completely different angle than most releases. This is something that is not easily absorb, one must just immerse themselves in the deranged mind of the musical genius that is Paul Chain.