Change is inevitable. Everything is possible. Embrace deathtastic Classic Rock!
The evolution of music is deeply intertwined with the shifting landscape of human existence, driven by a continuous quest for uncharted emotional, technical and sonic dimensions. Influenced by a myriad of factors such as technology, politics, social trends and individual preferences, music is in a perpetual state of flux.
In the domain of Death Metal, recent years have seen a surge in attention due to its remarkable musical progressiveness. The genre has witnessed a notable diversification and progression in both style and content. The willingness to evolve and progress is one of the principal components of (a genre’s) survival. Change is inevitable. As in existence in general. Thus Death Metal, like any genre of music, has always been populated by bands trying to push the boundaries and evolve their sound in different directions. With bands like Death, Atheist, Cynic, Lykathea Aflame, Tribulation, Morbus Chron/Sweven, Horrendous…
…and Chapel of Disease. Formed 2008 in Germany, they began their journey in the Old School Death Metal sounds of the late 80´s, but transformed themselves to something quite different along three magnificent releases between 2012 and 2018. Now brighter in tone, more transparent in production and more ”rock”, but still loosely attached to their roots i.e with the use of Death Metal -vocals. A path of development similar to Tribulation, though more adventurous classic rock than goth in excecution.
Their latest and fourth album, “Echoes Of Light”, is the outcome of an even deeper dive into the possibilities as a band when set free from any musical or genre-based boundaries. Embracing even more so the 70´s Rock, Blues Rock, Progressive Rock (Captain Beyond, Blue Öyster Cult, Pink Floyd) as also Traditional Heavy Metal influences. It is a record full of driving riffs and wonderful guitar licks, that lead you into the great wide open. Some say they´re the Dire Straits of Death Metal.
“Echoes Of Light”. The album title itself might serve as a fitting metaphor for the band’s evolution, reflecting a pursuit of inspiration and growth, juxtaposed against the transient nature of these pursuits. Leading sometimes to unexpected outcomes or confrontations with the darker aspects of life (disillusionment, consequences of unchecked desires). By then, destroying the ”light” might be the only way to move forward. Tearing down the old and embracing destruction creates space for renewal, mirroring the band’s creative transformation leading to this album. This evolutionary path is also matched by the change in album art. From the dark, typical metal related imagery at the beginning of their first two albums to the wide blue sky and desert planes of the last album, we are now greeted with the vastness of space. Symbolizing the unknown, the potential for new discoveries and the desire to explore beyond our known boundaries. Understanding through exploration. Everything is possible. Definitely a lot in the course of six tracks and 42 minutes:
The opening title track “Echoes Of Light” already impressively underpins this explorative character. It is a melodic and at times wonderfully spherical rollercoaster ride of over 8 minutes length, only connected to Death Metal by the hoarse screams of frontman Laurent Teubl. Second track “A Death Though No Loss” builds a stylistic bridge to its predecessor, which - after a light-footed, discreetly folky middle section and tasty Mark Knopfler licks - unleashes in an infernal storm of more distinct death metal parts.
The following “‘Shallow Nights”, on the other hand, is a completely cleanly sung semi-ballad that oscillates between hope and despair and incorporates influences that are almost reminiscent of grunge. “Selenophile” shines in groovy splendor, with slight Indie traits in the guitar playing and those raspy DM -vocals reminiscent of Tribulation´s Johannes Andersson and elegant heavy rocker and penultimate song “Gold/Dust” bears clear influences from classic Heavy Metal, is also sung clean and littered with great Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies. Solemn closer “An Ode To The Conqueror” plays grandiosely with epic, intoned arcs of tension. An ethereal, dreamy farewell with Blues flavored guitar solos.
Overall, this is a grandious, very re-listenable album. Engaging and progressive, nevertheless hooky and rich in contrast and depth.
In essence, “Echoes of Light” invites the listener to join the band on a transformative musical journey, embracing change as an inevitable and essential part of life. Only death is real and change the only constant in life. Embrace it and have fun!