Chasma are one of the darkest, most horrifyingly crushing black metal bands I’ve listened to lately. That being said, the band also has a nice, haunting melody to their sound as well. I have been patiently waiting for this album to come to me and now that it has, I will settle down and review this band’s vicious debut release, Declarations of the Grand Artificer. Good things come to those who listen to black metal.
“Daystar Angelwar” opens with atmospheric ambiance and screams of torture before the track takes a turn towards crushing, pulverizing blackened madness. Shortly after, however, the track turns into a soft, melodic black metal masterpiece. Within the first few moments, I was in love with this band. Their sound is mesmerizing and dark and the atmosphere that encompasses their music is hypnotizing. From the melodic nature of the softer segments of this song to the out of control, ungodly reign of the more punishing US black metal sound, this band never loses my attention. The vocals around the middle of the track are ghastly, dark and tormenting and the clean vocals that follow are beautiful and mystifying. The vocals are slightly drowned behind the wall of blackened bliss, but that’s no problem to me. The production on this is perfectly centered. Nothing stands out too much or too little. Wow, this track is unbelievable.
“Shadowbend” opens with a slow, melodic, clean intro. Slowly, the sounds of screams come in and add an extremely haunting vibe to this track. As the song takes off, it remains smooth and clean but picks up the pace a bit. It’s dark and melancholic but beautiful at the same time. I love the fuzz-covered bass thumping. That along with the clean guitars and pounding drums creates a mystifying atmosphere that is only pierced by the forceful, tortured vocals. It is song structure and composure like this that makes Chasma one of my favorite black metal bands out right now. Sure, the song is a bit chaotic, but they keep it controlled and in sync very well. The driving riffs are harsh and dissonant and the drumming is hammering and it all sounds fantastic together. All throughout this song, the musicianship is fantastic. Towards the end of the track the tracks slows to a blackened doom pace. Fast and blistering riffing turns to slow, droning guitars and slow, punishing drumming creating even more atmosphere. This band creates a kind of post-apocalyptic soundscape that keeps me interested in the song regardless of how long it is and always keeps me wanting more. This is dark, mesmerizing beauty that is absolutely breathtaking.
“Blue Jewel Destruction” begins slowly with a lot of ambient sounds and someone speaking, instantly creating a ghastly texture that encases the song. About a minute-and-a-half in, the song forms out of harsh guitar tones and slowly-building drumming. Soon enough, we have the blackened piece of majestic art fully formed and punishing. The track slows back down to a droning, misanthropic pace where the guitars let chords hold and the vocals scream out against the darkness. Around the five minute mark the track has jumped back up to full speed, pulverizing its previous surrounding and building on top of it with harsh noise and brilliantly executed riffing. Breaking down the aforementioned black metal mold and kicking back into the dark, melodic song structure, Chasma constantly keep me interested with the ever-changing moods of their songs. I love these vocals. They’re real. You can hear actual emotion in his words and that makes this style of music even more powerful. Anyone can scream words into a microphone and call themselves a vocalist, these are real vocals and this is how modern black metal should be done. Easily one of the best black metal albums I have heard all year, I can guarantee this one a spot on my year end list. I am extremely thrilled that I finally got to hear this album and you can believe I will not be stopping anytime soon.
For fans of: Fyrnask, Deafheaven, Lake of Blood
Favorite track: None
Label: Moribound Cult