Monday, August 5, 2013

Ashes of Chaos - Eye (2013)

Italy may not be one of the bigger heavy metal countries, but they have their share of cool groups. Some famous bands are Rhapsody of Fire, Lacuna Coil, Fleshgod Apocalypse, DGM and more. One Italian band that have just started their metal journey is the progressive metal band Ashes of Chaos. The band was formed in 2008 as a cover band, but started to write own material after a couple of years. The band consists of Alexios Ciancio on vocals, Mike Crinella on guitar, Giorgio Gori on keys, Stefano Galassi on bass and Francesco Gabrielli on drums. And just like any progressive metal band nowadays, their role models and influences are Dream Theater, Opeth, Pain of Salvation and more.

The debut album is entitled "Eye", and it is a concept album where a big meteorite is heading towards Earth. What does the authorities do about it? They cowardly hide in underground shelters while the rest of the population will face a sure death. We get to follow a protagonist that some how survives the impact and faces a future where he is alone and hope is slowly fading out.

It is a pretty nice concept and the band tells the story well, but it is the music that does most of the telling, and thank god that the music is creating images inside your head. The band is playing very technically and they twist and turn so much that it is hard to follow, but it is still a hell of a ride.

The album starts with "Ashes of Chaos" that starts of in a great tempo with its fast beat and amazing musical skills, but the true power of the song is its many shifts in both tempo and style. From fast death metal to slow and atmospheric metal. The next song is called "Falling" and both the lyrics and music describes the meteorite's impact towards Earth pretty darn good. "Falling" has a doom like feeling and the chorus is as epic as it is awesome. It is also one of the simpler songs on the album.

After a apocalyptic "Doom", we get thrown into the aftermath in "Mechanical Rage". I can say that this song reminds me a lot of the Australian band Ne Obliviscaris. Very melodic, some use of the violin, a break in the middle and a interesting song structure. In other words, awesomeness right through the core. And the awesomeness continues in the ultra progressive "Atmosphere Pt. 1". This track takes so many unexpected turns in different styles that I get dizzy, but each individual part is great, and together they create a fantastic track. I do however like the fast and heavy part around 4.25 a little extra.

"Parallels" is the first out of two 10 minute epics, and even though I like the heaviness in the song, it is not strong enough to keep my interest through all of the 10 minutes. And sadly, the other 10 minute song, "Awake", does not fulfill its task either. I can look over those two songs since it takes time and experience to create great epics and I am pretty sure that the band will master it in about 5 years or so.

There is a clear vision that the first half of "Eye" is the stronger half, and even though I like the instrumental "Novilunio" and the Italian spoken "Rinascita", but they are not strong enough to maintain the power that the first half showed. Also, the weird "Atmosphere Pt. 2" lowers the score some.

If I had to make one complain against Ashes of Chaos, then I would say that the singer need to work on his English pronunciation. I have a hard time hearing what Alexios is singing from time to time. His voice is otherwise good, and if he does his homework on the English, he and the rest of the band will rise up the metal ladder very fast.

This band has a huge potential, and I really hope that they spend the coming years to play show and grow as a band. "Eye" shows what the band can do in a recording studio and the result is astonishing. Ashes of Chaos is without a doubt the most exciting new progressive metal group I have heard in years, and I cannot wait too see what the future has in store for them.

Songs worthy of recognition: Mechanical Rage, Falling, Atmosphere Pt. 1, Ashes of Chaos

Rating: 9/10 Parallels


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