If you are used to read my reviews, you would have noticed that I don’t often talk about Italian acts. In fact I’m not used to being a fan of many extreme Italian bands. Still, Chaos Plague are one of those few. Hailing from Mozzate, a small town near Como, this young Italian band definitely offers a solid progressive shade of death metal.
In 2015, their debut album, Existence Through Annihilation, finally sees the light of day. Released through Revalve Records, this pretty convincing first-fatigue delivers an hour of furious as well as extremely technical death metal. The main influences that could be heard in this record are pretty clear: Death and Cynic above all. Besides them, more modern bands as Obscura and Meshuggah are, in my humble opinion, includable amongst the influences to this record.
The compositions are very, and I mean it, technical. The fretless-bass, flawlessly played by Matteo Salvestrini, is nothing less than the real pillar of this album, giving it momentum and a nice jazzy vein. While Salvestrini‘s bass works as northern star, the two guitarists (Luciano Duca and Davide Luraghi) add up complex riffs to the compositions. Sometimes they could be a little hard to be followed through, but probably this is the nicest thing about progressive music, isn’t it?
The growling and screaming department is taken care by Daniele Bellotti, while drums are performed by Stefano Tarsitano (the drum “work” isn’t so striking, but it’s strong enough, and good enough to sustain the whole band).
Existence Through Annihilation consists of 10 tracks, eight previously unreleased, and two already published on their 2012 demo/EP. These two songs don’t show any relevant change in shape, but they do offer instead interesting improvements in quality and playing. Chirality, one of the “old” tracks, is still one of the best songs on this album. In fact this tune clearly showcases their early Cynic influences, and as it happened with most of Focus‘ tracks, Chirality offers a good balanced mix between heavy and quiet moments, alternating both growl and clean vocals. Here, unlike what Masvidal did, there’s no sign of any effect or modulation on the clean vocals, which is kept pretty bared. (I’ll talk a bit more about this later).
By the way, the best song of Chaos Plague‘s first full-length answers to the name of Ubermensch Path. And if it isn’t Nietzsche inspired I don’t really know what it is then. This 8-minute long composition is more breathing and introspective than the others. Also the vocal performance is the overall most convincing. If in progressive death metal is not so easy to craft something original, well, with this song Chaos Plague just made it.
Personally, if I had produced this album myself, I would have made a couple of main changes.
1. I would have cut off a bunch of minutes from the whole length. The record is not so easy listening, and it requires a lot of focus to enjoy it completely. So probably, shorting off a dozen minutes, or so, the listening experience could have been improved.
2. I would have worked a bit more on clean vocals. Sometimes they are too dry, so they don’t fit in the mix well. Not always, but this issue somewhat appears here and there throughout the record. For example, you can hear it happening on Trascendental Liberation.
But besides that, the production is very well done, with good balancing and dynamics, and luckily it’s not stupidly compressed to “win” that fucking “Loudness war”…who knows whoever likes that kind of production, really.
If you think Italian metal to be just garbage, well try and give Chaos Plague a chance and you’ll hopefully change your mind.
1. A Fair Vendetta
3. Collision of Entities
4. Trascendental Liberation
6. Inner Visions of External Disillusions
7. Fall of Reason
8. Ubermensch Path
9. I, Annihilation
10. Sinner’s Regret
Label: Revalve Records
Websites: Facebook | Website
Release Date: 16th April 2015
Reviewed by Teo