Well, I think itís time to start introducing you to Chasm. This is just a sampler, thereís probably going to be an interview in the next issue. Anyway, youíll have heard a bit of them on the Yazcore CD. What do you mean you havenít? Well, thereís some left at the time of writing this, though whether there will be by the time you read it is a different matter. So better get writing then. Anyway yeah, back to Chasm. They hail from Derby, there currently a four piece, theyíre young, and theyíve produced this three tracker that Iíve been living with for quite a while. Oh, and theyíre currently doing some absolutely storming gigs.
It has to be said that the music theyíre putting out isnít the most instantly memorable that there is. But actually itís one of the strengths. Thereís enough of a hook there on first listen to land in you, and gradually it keeps on reeling you back. And with each repeated listen, the more subtle nuances start hitting. Thereís certainly hints of Far and the Deftones in here, but itís not hero worship or attempted cloning or genetic modification of the music. They manage to stamp their own identity and avoid some of the generic pitfalls that quite a few other bands seem to be falling into.
Block, the set closer, opens things up here. It doesn't really prepare you for what's to come, as it jangles along. The main riff soon hits in, with it's slow progression as they build to the chorus. And then just over half way through, break it all back down again. Maybe hard for some people to get their heads around initially because the band choose to use more than one riff for an entire song and a few changes of pace.
Almost There is probably my favourite track here, moody and full of dynamics. It starts off driven by the rhythm section of Gemma and Luke before there's a spartan guitar courtesy of Chris, which I guess some people will point the finger towards Nirvana on, but it's nothing like that. Then thereís that part in here where on first listen it sounds like everythings almost fallen out of the sound, but when they play it live, you find yourself missing it. Just a little touch that is nice before everything crashes into the chorus. I guess that sounds fairly standard doesn't it? Well yeah, I mean they don't try to redefine the boundaries of music, but each part is slightly different, it takes a while, but in the long run, it's so much more interesting. Makes them stand out just that little bit.
Final track is Cold probably the most upbeat and instant of the songs, and actually maybe has less going on in it? Maybe that's why it seems more instant? Maybe it's just me being strange? Maybe it's because they're from the same area, but I also detect just a little hint of John Whitby in the quieter vocals of Peter. Don't even begin to ask who? You should know. And if you don't, well, Beyond and Gorilla. That's all I'm saying. But whichever way it is, it finish a demo that really only begins to hint at what the band has on offer, and given a bit of luck and all that sort of stuff, what they could turn into. It's also best taken with a dash of the live experience. It starts to make so much sense. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, the track Cold is more interesting than anything the band of the same name have put out. Ok, so that's not hard, but ...
The truth is that the recording isnít the greatest, and it fails to match the intensity of the gigs. But, and thereís always a but right?, but these things can be ironed out. All they need is the opportunity. And you do think that maybe itís actually nice to hear something this raw, before they get the opportunity to polish up the act and sound and become slick. It could happen. Very easily. The talent is there, and it shines through.
Contact: Chasm, 10 Garfield Close, Littleover, Derby, DE23 7TF
Stabbing Westward - Darkest Days.
This lot never really impressed me much when I saw them live. Nothing inspirational to stand out from the crowd. So I never bought a CD. So this, although itís their third album, is my first. Will it be my last? Well, that depends on what I think and whether I get another review copy I guess. But enough of that. Itís time to slaughter, sorry, review.
Well, I must say that the NIN influences appear there, albeit somewhat more guitar driven. Never been a huge NIN fan, and maybe thatís whatís made me wary of bands like SW, especially tracsks such as How Can I Hold On. Itís actually quite good, but just feels that the influence is being worn just that little too tightly on the sleeve. But, thereís good songs in their own right here, such as Drugstore, where thereís even hints of Perry Farrel in the vocals, which makes a change. The Thing I Hate kind of shows that NIN feel again, with a hint of the Mazza Mansons as well, while On Your Way Down achieves a nice balance between the rick histrionics guitars and the electronics. but Iíve got a feeling Iím going to have to swallow my pride and my preconceptions again and admit that this is actually a damn good album. Not great in that sending me to the shops to buy the other two manner, but thereís definitely the chance that this is going to get more than just one or two plays after this review has been completed.
Itís also very bleak, very bleak, which of course appears to be a characteristic of this music. And when I feel shit, I can empathise. When I feel good, it feels overwrought. So itís one youíve either got to be depressed and angst ridden all the time to listen to (not a good combination if you can help it), or you have to be in the right mood to appreciate this You might get stared daggers if you pop it on in the middle of a party thatís going well. Use more when you want to kick people out back to their own homes.
Available on Columbia Records.
Acid Death - Pieces of Mankind.
This gets described as something like "melodic progressive death". And there's 2 words in that description that tend to put me on my guard. Progressive can equal utter bollocks. And death can equal utter stupidity. I think there's more of the progressive in this than the later. Sure, there's a kind of death growl sort of thing there, but it's not too extreme. So we kind of leave that element alone for now. The progressive though. Oh yeah, the progressive. It stands out, because the opening riff to what is effectively the first song on the album just feels too calculated, too try to be good and awkward. And for me, it just ends up feeling clumsy. There are numerous times as well where it just wanders off for a kick around on a different pitch to the one I'm playing. We meet up again at a later point, and it's like, "where the hell have you been?". "Oh, just over there impressing the girls with our control and range". "Yeah, did you pull?" "Nah, they just looked at us and giggled". Sometimes you should just maybe stick to the path y'know. When they riff it's fine, when the juggle with their balls, it's time to yawn. You know what I mean.
However, there are some really nice melodic guitar duel moments, such as on Liquid Heaven. It's kind of trip back a few years, it's nice but.... And it would appear Stehen King is a major influence, as at least 2 of the songs are credited as being based around his works - While The End is Coming and My Destination. Itís ok, but it just doesnít grab the attention very much.
Available on Copro Records.