Chronicle – Where Chaos Thrives Review

An unheralded young act from Denmark, I tackled Chronicle’s third LP, Where Chaos Thrives, without previous experience with the band’s material. Nevertheless, that may be my own unfortunate oversight, as Chronicle play a bouncy, raging style of thrashy melodeath meets technical death shreddery that can certainly fit neatly in my wheelhouse if the songwriting goods are up to scratch. Worth noting, Chronicle has scrapped together a couple of EPs and over ten years experience as an active unit, so are by no means newcomers to the underground metal scene. On the base level, Where Chaos Thrives contains the requisite melodic charms, speedy core, and technical acrobatics one would expect, coupling early Gothenburg influences with a blackened, thrashy melo-tech-death formula with the potential to appeal to avid listeners of acts such as The Black Dahlia Murder, Inferi, The Absence, and Freedom of Fear. How does this confident Danish crew fare across an album length of material?

The delicate acoustic strums on opener “Usher in the End” thankfully doesn’t signal the overused introductory piece, instead representing a brief calm before the explosive storm hits in an action-packed stream of sizzling riffage, dual vocal tradeoffs, complex drumming, and lively mix of aggression, tech muscle and softer melodic breakdowns. Though slightly unremarkable, it marks a job well done to introduce the listener to what lays ahead. Where Chaos Thrives motors along with a keenly honed and sprightly balance of speed, aggression, melody and flashy technicality. “Terrorform” crafts layers of blasts and bombastic atmosphere onto burly thrash workouts and techy pizazz, showcasing Chronicle’s bubbling potential when they nail down their formula with more memorable elements.

Not all the writing hits with the consistent impact of the album’s better tunes, which is a shame, as there is potential here aplenty, especially when Chronicle raise the stakes on tracks like the brutally efficient and melodically gripping ripper, “The Black Tide,” blazing, riff rumbling bruiser, “Evolution in Reverse,” and more structurally adventurous intensity of “Life Erasure.” The aggressive, busy style of drummer Jari Sielemann Holopainen impresses across the album, adding a ton of rhythmic muscle and flair. Meanwhile, the sleek musicianship is consolidated by the flashy fretwork of guitarists Sebastian Skousgaard and Lars Bo Nepper (also on vocal duties) who peel off technically proficient, thrash and melodeath-dusted riffs and flamboyant solos. The latter supplies a decent and versatile array of deeper deathly growths and blackened higher-range snarls. Not always the most unique vocal display but a competent and dynamic performance that compliments their chosen style well.

Where Chaos Thrives excels in a number of areas and does what it sets out to do with skill and a minimum of fuss. The nuts and bolts of the album are solid, and the final product filled with cool moments, bolstered by impressive instrumentation and a dynamic production job. Unfortunately, the whole package isn’t quite as convincing. While never a dull listen, even at a relatively lean forty-six minutes, not helped by stockpiling three of the album’s longest tunes at the backend, the album feels in need of some shrewd editing to tighten things up. The lengthier cuts, which exhibit Chronicle’s more melodic and progressive flirtations, such as those found on the nearly eight-minute closing title track, all feature ample sweet moments but could have made a bigger statement in punchier timeframes.

In the memorability stakes, the sharper, more efficient cuts strike with reasonable force, though others slide by without leaving as significant impact once the moment subsides. While in motion, the album hits the spot and delivers plenty of high-energy fun, though longer-term replay value is questionable. Chronicle’s Where Chaos Thrives is a difficult album to gauge. On one hand, it can lack a bit of character with elements of bloat and songwriting that doesn’t quite engage at that higher level of enjoyment. However, with its redeeming qualities, Chronicle knocked out a solid album that’s easy to like, if difficult to fully fall for. Where Chaos Thrives provided a decent level of satisfaction and is worth checking out for listeners with a craving for fast-paced, thrashy melodeath with a techy edge.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Mighty Music |
Releases Worldwide: May 12th, 2023

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