Genre: Progressive Metal
Release: Sept. 18th 2020 (Via Timezone Records)
You can order the album here.
The album was given to me beforehand by CHAOSBAY. Thank you so much for that!
The band pictures are, as always, by the amazing lightinmirror.de!
Zur deutschen Version dieser Review geht es hier.
Finally! The long-awaited release of Asylum by CHAOSBAY is just one week away and those who have followed my blog have learned quite a bit about it. Now it’s time to talk about the album itself.
My expectations on a lyrical and musical level were quite high. With CHAOSBAY I expect catchy but innovative melodies with a stringent thematic arc.
In this context my expectations were met and even surpassed.
The album starts with the opener Enjoy The Rise, a song that manages to heighten the expectations for the beginning vocals with a forty-second-long intro before the vocals shift into hard growling that is accompanied with deep guitars. While it’s not going to be one of my favorite CHAOSBAY songs, it’s certainly well chosen as an opener because the song manages to prepare the listener for the energy of the second song Amen for which I have already done an in-depth review.
The first surprise of the album for me was the song Mediterranean, which was recently released as a third single.
The brutal vocals accentuate the lyrical drama which is replaced in the chorus with almost desperate sounding clean vocals.
The band shows perfectly what their brand is: Apart from the awesome melodies you can feel how well the band plays together. The complex guitar soli fit the varied drums and the interesting bass accents so perfectly. Especially impressive is the line „Only rain is made in heaven“ which might as well be understood as a modern equivalent to Nietzsche’s „God is dead“.
The transition to Song Nr. 4 called D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival) is seamless and it took the video for Mediterranean for me to actually find the beginning of the song. This also happens quite a lot in the album, which, at times, makes it almost seem like a longtrack.
For me, D.O.A. has one of the most well-done and most catchy choruses on the album which is shaped by soulful vocals.
At the end, the chorus of Amen is picked up and „recycled“, but in a slightly different musical context so that the thematical repetition isn’t that apparent.
This in turn is followed by the powerful intro to my personal favorite of the album: Limbus Inn. I already liked the song when the studio session video for it was released and i liked it even more on the album. Without spoiling too much of the lyrics, I want to quote the first two lines of the chorus:
„Tell me if I’m free to die or if i’m condemned to live / Say do I have any rights in this cage that I am in“
These lines are immensely lasting in my mind and I think that the catchy qualities of this chorus emphasize the cause, which is the highlighting of the global refugee crisis, perfectly well.
The band shows (once again) that they all have mastered their instrument. The occasions for little outbreaks and the soli are perfectly picked and round up the overall impression of this album.
For me personally, the transition to the next song could have been a bit shorter since I caught myself thinking „Ok, when comes the next song?“
The following song Soldiers, which was the first single, has a bit of a rough place in the overall composition of this album. It’s a beautiful song that I really loved when it was first released and that still is played regularly in my home. Nevertheless it still feels kind of misplaced. We exit Limbus Inn with a really high-energy mind, that Soldiers can’t really meet, despite a long outro and scene-setting intro. I am only able to sink into the setting with the final guitar solo which is in the last minute of the song… My suspicion is that this song was written first and the rest of the album was composed with some distance.
Generally it’s not harmful to have a more calm on the album, but looking at the next song Criminals & Sons, which is significantly harder in its composition, I probably would’ve thought about the placement of Soldiers more carefully.
But let’s continue with the hardest song on the album, for which they also released a studio session video: Criminals & Sons.
The song is characterized by an impeccable guitar solo by SIMON KRAMER (SOULSPLITTER) and the hard growls. For me, it’s the hardest song on the album and also the one that surprised me the most with its composition.
However, the carefully constructed tension is suddenly broken and they change the vocals from hard growling with the fitting musical frame to a very soft melody that starts with the line „Wade in the water“ towards the end of the song. The sudden drop is not very comprehensible for me and I, as a listener, get the feeling of being left hanging in the air. Which is really a shame since the song is otherwise really well done.
The second to last song is called The Lyin’ King and has a rather pop-like feel to it. I have to highlight the perfect transition towards the harder part in this song though. While the transition was to sudden in the song before, it’s vastly better in this one. The melody continues playing the background and is then overtaken by deep guitars while the vocals change into a powerful growling.
At the end we have the epilogue called Heavenly Island which takes up the „If there is a god“-theme from Amen and develops it further. As a closer, this song is nearly perfect since it gets the listener back into the current times and highlight all the wrong things happening in our time.
Overall CHAOSBAY present us with an almost perfect album that, despite its mini-weaknesses, is definitely a favorite of mine already. The production is compact and amazingly done. The Album itself almost overflows with catchiness. If I had to pick a major problem I have with this album then it’s the fact that it is not long enough!
The melodies are varied and powerful. Impeccable soli harmonize perfectly with diverse vocals and the overall musical performance doesn’t have to hide behind other big names of the genre!
I absolutely recommend buying this album!
- Enjoy the Rise
- Limbus Inn
- Criminals & Sons
- The Lyin’ King
- Heavenly Island (Epilog)