Chryst - _Phantasmachronica_
(Omniversal Records, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
The other day this reviewer was listening to Ephel Duath's _Rephormula_ from 2002; a force-fed, waterd-down, try-hard, inorganic album with a nonsensical affinity towards the hyperspeeding, machine-generated blastbeats.

Chryst's _Phantasmachronica_, having been created in the same neighborhood of complex, progressive, "avantgarde black metal", is everything Ephel Duath's _Rephormula_ is not and never will be. Not only is this album a big 'fuck you!' statement to the metal masses, but it is only by chance and only loosely related to metal. Not that it does not have its fair share of metal sections, but it seems Christof Niederwieser (Angizia, Korova), Chryst's sole member, had focused on the idea and concept, on the originality and the arrangements, both vocal and instrumental, way before envisioning it would turn out to be a metal album per se: concept and ideas before the stylistic choosing.

That is not to be said about Epehel Duath's aforementioned _Rephormula_ (and about many other albums having the same stylistic approach, for that matter); it had seemingly been crafted in a backwards process: the band decided it -must- be a metal album no matter what, and only then did they pour in the musical essence, their half-baked ideas and their own lackluster "avantgarde". The result leaves much to be desired, and then some...

Korova V. 2011 is now called Chryst, a name that either bears a statement or is merely a shortcut for the band's only member, the aforementioned prolific, colorful and unique musician Christof Niederwieser (nicknamed Chrystof). Despite the fact Korova have ditched all other band members and changed the band's name at least twice (Korova, then Korovakill, and now Chryst), the musical aesthetics are quite a natural continuation of Korova's seminal (and absolutely underrated) 1998 masterpiece _Dead Like an Angel_ and its successor (under the Korovakill moniker), the 2001 excellent concept album _WaterHells_.

Now, being a fan of everything Korova have released, no mater what the band decided to be called, _Phantasmachronica_ was approached with caution. After all, a decade has passed since the band released anything, so who knows. But then, when Niederwieser's baritone voice suddenly appeared, accompanied by a quirky, theatrical musical show of cabaret versus black metal versus circus music, it dawned upon this writer nothing has really changed, and if something has indeed changed, it was effectively for the better.

Niederwieser is a master of his craft; _Phantasmachronica_, a 47 minutes long single track, showcases his true talent in assembling metal and other musical elements into a unified, exciting, singular product that is as progressive and always ahead of its time as any of Korova's previous albums, but without ever losing the grip on musicianship and coherence.

Niederwieser's music is as traditional as it is alien, without falling into a stream-of-consciousness writing that would be so out there it would eventually lose any relationship with the listener. Niederwieser does not write and perform music solely for his own amusement; he makes sure we, the audience, would enjoy and appreciate it. His avantgarde is easily digestible, fun, energetic, dynamic, eclectic and hyper-active, and always, always slightly enigmatic.

This album is post-modern post-black metal in the truest sense of the term, and it would not, by any means, leave you bored or indifferent. It is too good and too colorful to be disregarded or overlooked.

On a side note, you are highly encouraged to also check out the band's back catalog; it is as good and as unique as it is overlooked for so many years.


(article published 15/1/2012)

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