[30th January 2013]
[Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho]
01. Son Of Light
02. Vampire Of Hanover
03. Rostov Ripper
04. Bay Harbor Butcher
05. Demon Midwife
06. Red Spider
08. B.T.K. (Bind, Torture, Kill)
09. Monster Of The Andes
10. Art Of Killing
Who’s up for some gruesome tales? Metal, particularly death metal, has made no secret of its morbid fascination with the more twisted individuals of society. Countless homages have been written to Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer and other serial killers, exploring motives, methods or just simply reveling in the horror they wreaked. Straddling the boundary between death and thrash metal, Brazilian lads Chaos Synopsis have dedicated their entire second album The Art Of Killing to such a topic. They have researched into some of the perhaps lesser known serial killers, who are nevertheless intriguing in their methods, and coupled these stories with a background of pummeling death-thrash, and an unnerving album cover to boot.
Most of the tracks follow a similar pattern, and certainly fit Chaos Synopsis’ name: each is a chaotic blend of riffs thrown in haphazardly underneath a stop-start-blast drum rhythm, and it quickly becomes an exercise in telling the death and thrash riffs apart (c.f. “Son Of Light“, “Red Spider”). Connoisseurs will be quick to point out the influences of some Teutonic thrash; there’s Cannibal Corpse and older Sepultura all making appearances, along with the unfortunate Brazilian hangover of a vocalist echoing oldschool Cavalera. His raw and unflinching barking growls, which border on shouting, are not the most intelligible, and it takes a listen or two with the lyrics to piece together the meaning. The tracks as a whole are serviceable, but few are set to rock the boat any time soon.
To give the band their due, they do inject some variety into the mix, for better or worse: “Rostov Ripper” features a well-timed teased-out melodic line in the eye of the musical storm, contrasted later with a repeated acapella growl of the title that grates a tad on the ears. In general the band do well for blistering guitar solos; the one on “Bay Harbor Butcher” being one of the strongest examples. Finally, in a couple of moments of bewilderment, Chaos Synopsis drop in a couple of bizarre Southern slide guitar and violin moments during “Bind, Torture, Kill” and the instrumental title track respectively, both completely unexpected but not unwelcome.
However, despite all these little nuances, The Art Of Killing lacks something to stop the album from passing by in a blur. The meat of the tracks, the instrumentation, and to a lesser extent the vocals, are well-executed, but the skeletal structure of the tracks fails to flow smoothly and rarely engages. While later tracks like “Bind, Torture, Kill” excel, it is a struggle to remember “Zodiak” or “Demon Midwife“. As a background listening experience, this is hardly an issue, but few of the tracks really grab the listener’s attention beyond the intro riffs.
All things said, the fans of this genre-hybrid will certainly get a kick out of The Art Of Killing, although Chaos Synopsis have a way to go before making a more solid imprint on the Brazilian thrash scene. Kudos must be given to the band for doing their homework musically and conceptually, as back-stories are also included for a fuller immersion in the killing experience. Not that you’d plan on doing anything like this, would you?