The Chasm - _Reaching the Veil of Death_
(Lux Inframundis, 2001)
by: Paul Schwarz (
The Chasm are the best death metal band on the planet at the moment. It's really that simple. The Chasm capture all that death metal in its essence is and can be when serious, skilled and gifted musicians with their hearts in their work are behind its creation. A taste for gloomy atmosphere and epic, doom-influenced progressions and lead work colours the black waters of all The Chasm's death-cultic, heavy and powerfully metal compositions. Beginning with a creepy, creaking acoustic guitar-passage intro entitled "Root of Damnation", _Reaching the Veil of Death_ suddenly explodes into the violent, primitive brutality which characterises the beginning of its title track. Characteristically The Chasm as this carefully controlled and paced maelstrom of choppy death-riffing guitars and destructive drum work is, after two or so minutes I began to wonder if the Chasm had decided to abandon the deep, affecting combination of subtle dynamics, piercing leadwork and talent for gloomy harmonies which had so characterised the broader side of their character -- and which seemed to have become so integrally a part of them. I wondered if dissatisfaction with the label world had inspired Daniel Corchado (guitar, vocals), Julio Viterbo (guitars), Antonio Leon (drums) and Alfonso Polo (bass) to deliver a violent "Fuck you!" of pure, straightforward-death-metal-styled Chasm material. Then my CD counter clicked over to 2:11, and suddenly that broader side of the Chasm took full hold of me in the form of a monstrous, epic, spiraling lead suspended over a musical landscape which had almost antithetically changed its pace. The two truly new songs of this six-track, four-song EP are Chasm songs of the very highest order -- possibly the Chasm at the best they have yet been. From the sounds of it, their fifth album -- hopefully to be released next year -- will see the Chasm reach a new level of excellence in their reconciliation of destructive, death-cultic metal and emotionally expansive, melody-fueled and doom-inspired depth of expression. That fifth album may well also be put out under the Lux Inframundis imprint, i.e. by the band themselves. A deal with Dwell went rotten around a year ago: The Chasm's faith in the label world was understandably shaken by being cast out by a label on which they were by far the best band. Coming back to _RtVoD_, the remaining two tracks -- excluding instrumentals and new songs, that is -- comprise a re-recording of "The Gravefields" from 1996's _From the Lost Years_ [CoC #13], and a cover of Bulldozer's "Cut-Throat". The former is stylishly executed, bringing clarity and power to the more predictable, linear structures you'd expect from the band's infancy, and breathing a new, -different- life into what fanatics like me might call an "old classic". The latter is by a band I've never heard, but have heard a lot of -really- bad and -really- good things about; I've heard it said more than once that choosing to cover Bulldozer says a lot about a band's own music, with both negative and positive connotations attached. All I can say is that "Cut-Throat" makes a brutal, direct and fitting closing song for _Reaching the Veil of Death_. Either the Chasm owe much to Bulldozer, or they have made "Cut-Throat" their own in performance, because -- ignorant of Bulldozer as I was -- I originally believed it was just an especially simplistic Chasm song! As far as I'm concerned, if you're a fan of death metal, then you should hunt down this EP and _Procession to the Infraworld_ [CoC #45: I would give it a 10 out of 10 if I were to review it today] if you haven't already, and prepare yourself for The Chasm's fifth album. (If you get hooked on their music in the meantime, then I suggest you also hunt down _Procreation of the Inner Temple_ and _Deathcult for Eternity: The Triumph_ [CoC #40] to satiate yourself.) There are only a meagre few bands out there who can consistently make death metal which affects me deeply, broadly -and- inexorably: The Chasm are probably the best of that bunch. [Adrian Bromley: "Ah yes, the underdogs of the death metal world return with another great platter. Vocalist/guitarist/crusader Daniel Corchado leads his cohorts through one of the most punishing, technical yet dirge-filled death metal discs of 2001. Unlike the traditional sounds of death metal music these days, The Chasm's title track radiates an aura of determination and intensity that is so real and not forced. Emotionally draining and unsettling at times, the rawness of this death metal attack will leave you numb and bewildered well into 2002. Hopefully now some labels will wake the fuck up and sign them."][Pedro Azevedo: "The Chasm continues to excel at creating involved, dynamic and well-crafted death metal dirges. Not only are both of the new tracks on this EP very good, in _RtVoD_ The Chasm also managed to combine them with varied material (an old song, two instrumental tracks and a cover) and achieve a consistent result. The Chasm are definitely not your average death metal band, and this EP should be more than enough to convince a worthwhile label."] [Quentin Kalis: "Although _RtVoD_ is essentially an odds and ends EP, it is nevertheless one of high quality. Whether they are performing a relatively slow song ("The Gravefields"), a frenzied intense cover version (Bulldozer's "Cut-Throat") or an evocative instrumental ("Embrace My Funeral"), The Chasm never fail to display considerable diversity and skill. The very embodiment of death metal in the third millennium."]
(article published 14/1/2002)
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