Contrary to popular belief, researchers have recently concluded that all metal does not, in fact, sound the same. Turns out, there are completely different styles of metal altogether. Like, tons of them. There’s a speed one, and a black one, and a doooom one and a melodeath… *ahem* Anyway, the point of my having shattered your world with such unfathomable concepts was to pave the way for blasphemous trvth bomb number two: it’s not always about the riffs, yo. While the vast majority of bands build habitats of interrelated rhythm and melody rustled into structured songs, there are some species of metallus angrium who dwell in the ethereal murk of more primitive environments, taking up residence in emotion itself and eschewing traditional song form in favor of sustaining a particular emotive resonance. It’s called a mood album, you philistine poseurs, and today’s mood is “dismal violent insanity”, brought to you by Mouvement and the good folks at Chaos Echœs.
Now, if you’re as brilliant as your Angry Metal Readership implies, you’ve probably deduced that this second outing by these French harbingers of sonic bedlam does not adhere to the traditional tetherings of verses, choruses, bridges, et al. Though its six tracks are typically discernable enough from each other to be categorized as individual songs, Mouvement is very much an all-encompassing progression of itself, a journey one must undertake from beginning to end in order to fully appreciate the experience. If only there was a word for such a phenomenon… but I digress. Spending nearly 33 minutes with the album is a ritual, a process which can only yield its desired results when seen through to completion. Given the dark delirium of Chaos Echœs‘s blackened avant garde ways, not everyone is going to be up for the task – particularly those who opt to sample a few seconds of a track or two and proclaim their judgment final – but trvst me, it’s the only way.
Those already familiar with the band might be somewhat nervous to learn that Chaos Echœs have shed themselves of a guitarist since our very own Roquentin let that angry little metal light of his shine on their 2015 debut full-length, Transient. Rest assured, nothing about their sound has gotten weaker, safer, or any closer to resembling the work of sane minds as a result. The chaos begins with a vicious, gurgling scream, and the music more than matches that macabre energy for the entirety of Mouvement. While it’s true that Steffan Thanneur’s bass contributions are somewhat squashed by the surounding tumult, brothers Kalevi and Ilmar Uibo deliver their respective performances on guitar and drums with furious vigor and evil genius to parallel their malevolent muse, Portal. Crashing cymbals, droning atonal melodies and deep n’ dirty grooves reminiscent of dearly departed Australian death/doom machine diSEMBOWELMENT are what Chaos Echœs thrive on, and the absence of a founding member has done little to dull the savage attack of Mouvement.
Though the relatively minimalist stylings of the album might not require an army of brilliant minds to produce, the music itself is not exactly simple. Cooking up something noodly and giving it special effect zazz is easy, but keeping a largely-instrumental blackened avant-garde album engaging and effective? Not so much. Shaping the building blocks of Portal and Blut Aus Nord into something able to maintain itself while largely eschewing any kind of vocal presence requires patience and painstaking attention to subtle detail, and Chaos Echœs have proven themselves quite up to the task. Opting to let the music speak for itself not only forces listeners to project their own images of fear and despair against Mouvements infernal backdrop, this approach also gives the brief passages which contain any blatantly human noises – specifically the albums harrowing opener and the lobotomized wailing of its final track – a unique sense of significance and raw urgency. Sometimes less is more, yo.
Mouvement is not a traditional metal album. It is not a black metal album, a doom album, or anything along any such lines. It is, to be perfectly frank, a musical movement, an emotional tale told in largely wordless song. Granted, there’s no happy ending, or beginning, or middle here, but it’s certainly a horror story worth hearing for those avant guardians of blackened trvth who feed on the nonconformist filth of metals darkest, vilest recesses. Riff machine it mayn’t be, yet Mouvement manages to strike the right angry metal chords in this particular Muppet, and at the end of the day that’s trvly all that any band can hope for.
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Websites: Chaosechœs.bandcamp.com | ChaosEchœsOfficial | Facebook.com/ChaosEchœs
Releases Worldwide: February 16th, 2018