Released: 2014, Mortis Humanae Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I liked this album better when it was released 15 years ago as PANZER DIVISION MARDUK.
Incipient Chaos is a mysterious five piece black metal troupe from Western France, with members bearing individual monikers like “Chaos 1” and “Chaos 2”, (almost like a black metal version of the Ramones, eh?). Their debut EP, SULPHUR, sounds a lot like a tribute or fan letter to the legendary Swedes, but only a lot less interesting.
Blame it on the dry production, blame it on the dry riffs, blame it on the rain – as many times as I’ve listened to SULPHUR and tried to give it a fair shake, it’s consistently one dimensional and lacks any kind of real character. As often the case with newer bands in the black metal genre today, the songs are often a casualty in a battle between style and substance. All of the hallmarks are here that you’d expect from a black metal band in 2014, right down to the impossible to decipher band logo, but I can’t recall a single moment across SULPHUR’s five tracks that made think “wow” or even “that was interesting”. Worse than being a bad record, SULPHUR is boring. At least a bad record can be entertaining.
As a label, Mortis Humanae has a pretty solid track record with the bands they work with, so I’ll optimistically chalk up Incipient Chaos as a work in progress. I’ve heard the arguments that there’s no place left for the genre to go and retreading familiar territory is the new norm, but I’ll call shenanigans on that any day of the week. Labelmates like Azziard and Rotten Liver are doing some great stuff within the boundaries of “black metal”, so it’s tough to endorse another Marduk/Gorgoroth/etc. rehash unless they’re able to really sell it. Anti and Kvlt purists may love incipient Chaos based on that notion alone, but all others will smear their corpsepaint with tears of boredom.