Released: 2006, Hydra Head Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Khlyst’s CHAOS IS MY NAME is…uh…is…um…unique. Best described as avant-garde ambient noise with black metal undertones, this album essentially sounds like the soundtrack to Hell. Runhild Gammelsaeter’s vocals are a mix of snarls, moans, howls and other jolting sounds you’d expect to hear at an exorcism. All accepted musical conventions have been tossed out the window in favor of what appears to be 36 minutes devoid of any structure or direction whatsoever. It is as if main composer James Plotkin threw a song into a blender and saw fit to just randomly insert an arrhythmic beat, riff, etc. to the already mangled, bloody stump that came out. Melody? Yeah, right! CHAOS IS MY NAME, as befits the title, boils down to a half hour of gibberish, feedback and clatter that is as perplexing as it is intriguing.
The eight compositions on CHAOS IS MY NAME have no titles and are listed only as the Roman numeral attached to the respective track. Essentially, this should be taken as one continuous piece of music rather than a collection of individual “songs.” “I” and “IV” consist of mostly atonal, jagged noise with Gammelsaeter’s unholy screams, demonic snarls and Lucifer-ian wheezes plopped over top. “II” and “VI” are deliciously serene ambient pieces, especially after being treated to a certifiable mind fuck that comes from every other direction. By the time you get to the feedback-drenched, six-year-old-with-a-guitar intro to “VII,” you can’t help but think, “What the hell is this?!”
Maybe Plotkin and Gammelsaeter know what CHAOS IS MY NAME is trying to project but I am totally lost. The vocals sound like a cat being skinned and the guitars and drums follow no musical progression or pattern whatsoever. Bizarre doesn’t even begin to describe the “music” found here. I suppose this is true “art” but 99.9% of the people that gave CHAOS IS MY NAME a spin wouldn’t make it five minutes in. Off-putting and just plain creepy, Khlyst’s latest effort is a hard pill to swallow and one that will have your neighbors calling 9-1-1 if you turn it up too loud.