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Sixth Chamber; The: Crippled Souls

Discovering the background story to Crippled Souls by The Sixth Chamber is a little challenging. The band's website only provides a link to buy the album and the press release merely talks of "lost classics" and flat evictions due to the noise made creating twelve of the thirteen tracks contained herein. There may be a fantastic tale to tell here, but I cannot provide it... However the booklet eludes to recordings dating back to 2004, one guitarist (Palo Henderson) on the first four tracks and another (Sven Kand) on the subsequent eight, while Kjehl Johansen (Urinals/100 Flowers/Trotsky Icepicks) strums the strings of six on, as well as composing the music of, closing track "Tyrant Mutations". Which might, or might not be newer than the other songs and is credited to Kjehl Johansen And The Circlons. The whole shebang is produced by singer and bassist Rahne Pistor, while drums are clattered by Joel Gausten. Interestingly and adding a little credibility, the mix is completed by Geza X who has previously produced for Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and Germs.

It is the latter's involvement which finally gives a glimmer of what is trying to be achieved here and while the delay of nine years possibly ages things a fair bit, the results sound a lot more vintage than a decade or so. The dank, Gothic atmosphere of Bauhaus is rendered and vocally Pistor has definitely heard Jello Biafra, even if his delivery is far more obviously "controlled". The very fact he has also worked with Misfits guitarist Bobby Steele also alludes to what you can expect. Punky with glooms of Goth, Bluesy in a twisted sense and memorable without ever being so throwaway as to be called catchy.

Whether through the passing of time, a tight budget, the vision aimed for, or a mix of all three, the sound is cloudy and dark, leaving the impression of an extremely polished demo. In itself is no bad thing and Pistor is as believable a frontman as you could hope to encounter. Still it's hard to call this essential, even if for some it will easily slot into a gap in their collections not filled for many a year, a dark energy emitted in a less aggressive manner than most, if not all acts would even attempt these days. The restraint employed being a welcome change.

The album's title track works extremely well, offering up infuriatingly repetitious vocal lines which simply refuse to relent from your memory, while "Ritual Murder" brings a weight and threat without ever tumbling into pastiche or stereotype. However the overall lo-fi vibe does begin to wear a little thin, causing some of the sounds to merge, even if the intention behind them hints at so much more. Closing track "Tyrants Mutations" does clear things up, clean guitars jabbing, drums clangering, lyrics spitting to great effect, the clammy atmosphere given more bite and purpose. But then it isn't actually a The Sixth Chamber song in the first place...

Track Listing
1. Contagious
2. Plastic Doesn't Feel Pain
3. Crippled Souls
4. Hollywood Princess Doe
5. Paradise Lost
6. Ritual Murder
7. Wish Doctor
8. Guerrilla Tactics
9. Mesmera's Gaze
10. Imperial Horror
11. Tyrant Mutations

Added: January 18th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Sixth Chamber Online
Hits: 2101
Language: english

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