What’s this world coming to? Good, old-fashioned black metal incorporating experimental elements and color… being the color-phobe I am, I’m tempted to say blegh! Nihilism, corpse paint, cold misty mountains, every shade of black – these are the things I can wrap my twisted mind around, but psychedelia in black metal? That’s as incomprehensible as 57 maggots crawling single-file out of one’s ear [How many maggots can dance on the tip of an ear drum? – AMG]. Greek, blackened, non-conformists Enshadowed haven’t been putting maggots in anyone’s ears per se (well maybe they have, I wouldn’t really know, but that’s not the point). Rather they’ve been refining and largely re-defining their sound, and with nine years under their bullet-belts since their last full length release, Magic Chaos Psychedelia is the latest and greatest darkly treacherous offering of a well matured band. They incorporate an experimental, blackened death edge similar to Rotting Christ, Belphegor and to some extent Marduk and the blasphemous, fast and extreme Dark Funeral. Got to say, just seeing the list of bands they’ve done shows with and are influenced by and knowing that Magic Chaos Psychedelia was recorded, mixed and mastered by Fotis Bernando of greek occult band SepticFlesh fame made me expect a bloody treat, and I wasn’t wrong!
In an era that’s leaning towards digital, digital and more digital, I was pleased and surprised at the effort Enshadowed put into the album art for Magic Chaos Psychedelia, making use of not one, but two Greek artists. The cover of Magic Chaos Psychadelia was undertaken by Rea Pediaditaki and additional hand-made paintings depicting scenes from the tracks by Miguel Angel Castro Salina. While admittedly the two artistic styles lack a feeling of cohesion, Rea’s subtle use of color depicting the opening track gives an eye-catching spin to this blackened wrath-filled orgy.
Album opener “Stary Throne of It” is a belligerent, mid-paced offering that sets the tonal assault for the majority of the album, and the tracks that follow are not in the least shy to ravage your senses, with their energetic, memorable, catchy-as-hell, precise and technically well-executed riffs courtesy of N.E.C.R.O. Vocally, Serpent dishes up a colossal and unique blend of Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) and Mayhem flavoured screams that he combines quite successfully with raspy death grunts. “Black Holes, Death Planets,”, “Inner Psy-Trip” and “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” demonstrate Serpent’s hulking range and versatility. Where Magic Chaos Psychedelia falls short is in I.K’s drum work. While it’s plenty huge and well-executed, it’s overly safe and lacks the imagination that bridges the gap between these making these songs stellar and making them pretty darned good. A breathtaking and unusual fill here and there would have gone a long way!
The wildly psychedelic track “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” neatly tucked away at the end of the album proved that experimentation, the psychedelic and the blackness come together to form a majestic and pleasing mix. The track is gruelling, trudging and pleasantly melodic and not only does it showcase Serpent at his most tortured, but it also features SepticFlesh’s own Fotis Bernando on percussion – check out the 3:33 mark for a heaped helping of the magical the weird and the mystical. Other tracks that I grew to love include “Black Holes, Death Planets”, “Surrealistic Shade Of Color Black” and “Inner Psy-Trip”.
The mix on Magic Chaos Psychedelia is clean and modern and with N.E.C.R.O’s groovy guitar riffs and Serpent’s vocal might being the most exciting part of this album, it’s great that they’re well catered for in the mix. Fans of more melodic, yet still suitably nihilistic death infused black metal should definitely consider checking out this album.