Released: 2014, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Whether or not it's the album cover that is giving off such a vibe, but CHASMA's third album “Omega Theorian presents a hazy, moonlit-night vibe across it's depressive, atmospheric black metal assault. As with many black metal release, the key to a successful release seems to hinge on the imagery that is conjured when listening. Often it is that of cold, bleak, snow-capped mountains and forests but CHASMA seem to conjure forests under an infinity of stars – a welcome change of scenery and one that makes the album that bit more enjoyable.
“Arcane Firebreath” and “Trapped Beneath The Shining World” are exemplary dark walks through such scenery and demonstrates a tight musicianship between Whyte, Schomaker and Gordon. It's through these and other cuts such as main opener “Cathedral Of Luminaries” and “Hewn By The Hands Of Infinity” that they set their stall out for raging, blast-beat-led passages, frothing vocals and slower forays into both melodic and dissonant post-rock.
It's the latter sections that adds that extra layer of melodicism to the album, but also serves to present its overriding drawback. Whilst the slower, melancholic sections complement the wilder blasts of black metal well and serve to offer both a slight variation and an organic flow to the narrative, they do come across as a bit too winding at times. There are points when tracks descend into this and return much later on once the novelty of the cleans or melodic parts have worn. “Disciplines Of An Ancient Aeon” is a good example of this – brooding, clean opening and final-throes ending sandwich the blasting hallmark of black metal. Each part, whilst aurally pleasing and, added together, makes for a decent song, just feels a little too stretched-out. Perhaps trimming some of these parts down a little across the course of the album and everything would have a greater impact.
Little complaint can be made about the album's production, however. The rustic, analogous-sound is a joy to hear in times of cold, clinical digital precision and holds a warmth that encompasses the album together. You may be thinking that the colder digital approach would suit a band purveying a notoriously cold and bleak genre, yet it certainly not the case here – the warmth and well-rounded nature of each instrument complements the other and allows the music itself to offer the cold atmosphere that is required.
There is a healthy WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM feel to “Omega Theorian” - rustic, analogue-sounding production with generous melding of innate blasts to wistful, winding passages as well as caustic, almost maniacal, screams. The guitars have a slightly restrained TWILIGHT-sound (circa “Monument To Time End”), which gives songs like the aforementioned “Arcane Firebreath” and “Trapped Under The Shining World” added impetus in the faster sections, but also adds a deep, grinding melancholia to those drawn-out, meandering passages.
“Omega Theorian” continues CHASMA's form of the past two albums but adds an expansive nature – the album is longer generally, but their does seem to be an element of refining going on. Whilst all but one track extends beyond the five-minute mark, they are below the ten-minutes that featured on “Declarations Of The Grand Artificer” and “Codex Constellatia” - the tracks here are still lengthy and wind-on too much in places, but they are more palatable and digestible. If you're partial to moonlit walks through the woods whilst listening to music as a narrative, you can't go wrong here - “Omega Theorian” is an expansive and enjoyable listen.
Review by: Lee Carter