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Chaosweaver: Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger

These guys describe themselves as "Cinematic Extreme Metal," a label that I'm having a very tough time understanding. I mean, sure, music can have a dramatic quality; perhaps even provide listeners with a few moments of intense visualization. Nevertheless, I'm not convinced that I can describe this music as "cinematic," at least not without some careful consideration as to what that really means. It is true, though, that this album does occasionally move into spoken parts that sound as though they're taken from a film, but they have no visual context to help me understand just what the character is doing, what motivates him, and what he hopes to accomplish. If this is a concept album, just get down to it without building up the movie-like aspects of the story. If a story's worth telling in music, I'm ready to give it a listen. It may be that Chaosweaver is thinking of their music as a complex mixture of dramatic situations or that they see their music as telling a story that could also have a place in movie theaters. If so, I'd start by describing it in terms of the dramatic rather than the cinematic.

I don't mean to spend so much time on labels, but it is always interesting to think about how bands describe themselves. To me, the way a band describes itself can shape my listening experience, making me think about how well the music lives up to the label, or even how well it creates a new sense of what extreme music can do. With this album, I was drawn mostly to the various musical textures Chaosweaver offers listeners. From the beginning, I knew I was in for no ordinary listening experience and I did listen to the album with a sense of expectation as to what each track offered. This album has a great variety of sounds, generally drawn from several helpings of traditional heavy metal instruments and a regular helping of backing classical strings; we also get regular spoonfuls of synthesizers, used mostly to create atmosphere, not melody. The production is bright and clear, but the vocals are sometimes so deep that they seem to drop below normal human ranges. The closing song, the best track, in my opinion, also includes some lovely melodic lines by a female singer.

Although this album has occasional flashes of fascination, I would mostly describe it as a mostly messy listening experience. The music is trying to be eclectic in ways that push away any melodic sense. True, the strings keep listeners close to a melodic sense, but to me they did not blend as well as they could have with the music on the whole. Another part of the problem is the inhuman vocals that range too often from singing to a kind of breathless rasping. I also felt slightly ill as I listened to not a few passages where the vocalist sounds like he's accessing his gag reflex (I have no way to know if this is right, of course, but all I can say is that it didn't do much for me). I think that Chaosweaver would do better to focus on simpler plots, as it were, for their stories and for music that creates atmosphere rather than insists on one.

Track Listing:
1. A Red Dawn Rises
2. Wings of Chaos
3. Maelstrom of Black Light
4. The Great Cosmic Serpent
5. Infected
6. A Requiem for a Lost Universe
7. Crystal Blue
8. Repulsion
9. Ragnarök Sunset

Added: August 22nd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Myspace Page
Hits: 1483
Language: english

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