Chalice - _An Illusion to the Temporary Real_
(Modern Invasion, 2001)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Wait a second... what is this I hear? A flute? And its melodies are a nearly constant presence throughout this record. Yet I could almost swear Chalice's debut _Chronicles of Dysphoria_ [CoC #50] featured quite a lot of violin! This turns out to be just about the most obvious change in this Australian band's sound since their debut, as this second full-length album of theirs sees them following an otherwise predictable path. Their lightweight melodic doom metal moves along at a sedate mid-pace, whilst the flute and occasional keyboards accompany blue-eyed Shiralee's talented soprano-like vocals. She does convey reasonable variety with her voice as well, ranging from a more sombre tone to some competent higher notes towards the end of "Catalepsy in Staccato Rain", in one of the best sections of the entire album. And indeed, Chalice have replaced their violin with a female flute player, whose work seems diligent throughout the record; nevertheless, I did prefer the violin, as the flute comes across as less expressive and to my ears doesn't combine with their guitar sound as well as the violin did on _Chronicles of Dysphoria_. Still, driven forth by some good female vocals and all- round competent musicianship, Chalice deliver a pleasant and melancholic record. It's neither terribly original nor a competitor for best album of the year in its genre (that title definitely belongs to Madder Mortem's excellent _All Flesh Is Grass_ [CoC #54]), but if what you are looking for is a relaxed, melodic and mildly doomy record, then _An Illusion to the Temporary Real_ should be a very safe bet. Chalice should really try to aim for something rather more daring and emotional next time, however -- pleasant as it may be, _AIttTR_ is still a somewhat disappointing follow-up to _Chronicles of Dysphoria_.
(article published 14/1/2002)
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