Chaos Echoes drift further into abstraction with their sophomore full-length release, Mouvement.
With the increasing popularity of bands like Deathspell Omega and Portal, there has been somewhat of a surge of experimental black and death metal bands in the underground scene. Much like the aforementioned acts, these bands utilize angular, dissonant guitars, atonal melodies and haunting atmospheres to craft well-constructed cacophonies that sound absolutely evil. But with most genre trends, the greater the influx of bands, the less distinguishable from each other they become. Fortunately France’s Chaos Echoes, a band that would be lumped into this category, breaks the mold and pushes the boundaries of this idiosyncratic style.
Chaos Echoes have always been keen on the whole cacophonous death metal style, but have always flirted with outre and strange as well. Their affinity for experimentation and abstraction was really expressed on their 2015 full-length Transient; an album whose use of unorthodox instrumentation, atmospherics, and melding of different extreme metal genres, prevented the band from coming across as another band that worships at the altar of Portal and Portal alone. The record proved that there were avenues yet to be explored in this very niche style, and even more are explored in its haunting follow-up.
Mouvement picks up where its predecessor left off by refining and building upon the more odd, experimental and unnerving aspects of the band’s sound. The record is surprisingly short, clocking in and about 33 minutes in length, but is quite the journey nonetheless. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, creating an unyielding assault on the psyche.
A venomous scream ushers in an assault of swirling, dissonant chaos on “Embodied By Perfidious Curls In The Innervated Flux,”. The guitars writhe and intertwine with each other, creating malformed riffs that are malevolent and ugly. With the exception of the opening scream, the track is entirely instrumental (as is most of the record) and allows the listener to feel effectively battered by every discordant note. The album opens up as one would expect, but it becomes more eclectic as it progresses.
The final dissonant flurry on “Embodied” carries over into “As An Embraceable Magma Leading The Subliminal.” and is steadily pushed into the background. Muscular bass grooves are pushed to the forefront as the guitars churn out sparse melodies and haunting ambiance begins to take over. Even when the cavernous death metal begins to return, everything is wrapped in nightmarish psychedelia that the entire track feels like a fever dream.
Sludgy, stomping guitars open up “Surrounded And Amazed By These Unplumbed Abyssess Of The Inverted Sea,” as the track gradually transforms into an eerie, ritualistic section comprised of pulsating bass lines, hammered dulcimer and airy atmospherics. The track then returns to caustic doom before flowing into “Through Kaleidoscopic Haze Of Unexpected Extents.”; a vertigo inducing blitz of churning, serpentine black metal that behaves like a beast from Lovecraftian lore.
Chaos continues to ensue in the penultimate movement, “Shine On, Obsidian! Ego! Ego! Echo Back To The Yearning Of The Self!”. The track surges forth with a plethora of off-kilter, disjunctive blackened death metal that slithers and writhes like a multi-tentacled, inter-dimensional organism. The track unleashes total aural hell up until its final moments as ethereal soundscapes begin to take over. “Alas! Here Is The Feebles’ Assent, Exalted By Your Mouth Full of Flies,” then closes out the album on a haunting, shamanic note. The track begins with somber solo guitar riffs that slowly bleed into a lengthy section of primal percussion, unnerving soundscapes and occult chanting. Everything is then brought to an unnerving close by a myriad of bestial growls, wails and screams.
Chaos Echoes take the whole avant-garde death/black metal sound in new and interesting directions on Mouvement. It’s a unique and frightening opus that refuses to be pigeonholed, and one that satiate metal fans who love to be made uncomfortable.
Release Date: February 16, 2018
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Favorite Tracks: “Embodied By Perfidious Curls In The Innervated Flux,”, “As An Embraceable Magma Leading The Subliminal.” and “Alas! Here Is The Feebles’ Assent, Exalted By Your Mouth Full of Flies,”
For Fans Of: Deathspell Omega, Portal and Terzij de Horde.