Take a look at the cover artwork for this release. It depicts Jesus Christ crucified on a modern wind turbine on top of a Martian-red hill against a clear blue sky. If you can get past the (obviously intended) wonderfully post-modern blasphemy of it all, your first thought might be "that's weird, but interesting". Now, some of the other artwork connected with this album depicts a man with clouds superimposed as a beard upon his face, Jesus crucified on a power pylon, a fish floating in the sky and gear discs emanating from an hourglass towards a floating clock disc in the sky. Again, your first thought is probably "weird, but interesting".
And "weird, but interesting" as perhaps the predicate that describes Chryst's post-modern avant-garde metal album PhantasmaChronica the best.
Drawing on main man Christof Niederwieser's background in avant-garde black metal act KorovaKill, Chryst does have strong leanings towards black metal on this release, and several black metal aesthetics pop up, such as the use of black metal shrieks and an emphasis on repetition that characterizes some of the tracks. But PhantasmaChronica goes far beyond the already very fuzzy demarcations of black metal with its post-modern and definitely deconstructionist approach to genre within the metal universe. The music is generally quite dark and psychedelic and thus in stark contrast with the cover artwork of the album, and in addition to the black metal elements, the listener is treated to weird - at time humorous - as in the bizarrely epic 'I Are You' (see, even the rules of grammar are deconstructed), or mellow and quite melodic passages, as in 'Metatoprolis', and creepy sound effects (such as the chaotic use of samples of babies crying in 'Templum Tempus'.
Moreover, there is plenty of experimentation with dissonance, spaceyness, epic soundscapes, tempos, minimalism, lushness, moods, electronica elements, sternness, humor and so on. And, as if to underline the main lyrical theme of the illusion of time and space, the opening track is sped up and slowed down towards the end - reflecting that Chryst is a project where even the recording technology itself may be subject to experimentation.
Yes, PhantasmaChronica is weird, but interesting. It is at times very tense, unsettling and disturbing, and at other times mellow, pleasurable and even uplifting and at all times avant-garde and challenging. It's one of those releases you listen to in order to explore it as an integrated piece of art.
1. The Awakening
2. I Are You
3. Leaving the Ashes
4. Storming Outside
5. The Surge Lands
6. Universe Inverse
7. A New Age
9. The NovoPharus - The ChronoMagus
10. The Drill-Tower
11. Templum Tempus
12. Grow into Labyrinths
13. The Architect Maze
14. Back in the Room
(note that the album is intended to be one long composition divided into tracks for your listening convenience)