Reviewed: April 2009
Released: 2008, Pulverised Records
Reviewer: Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
While listening to CHAOS RISING, I gradually began losing track of the time. As it happened, I was cleaning my apartment while I put the disc in for its first couple of spins. Some time later, I noticed that I had no idea how long I had been cleaning or what time of day it was. After some thinking, I attributed this temporal disorientation to the fact that each and every song on Suicidal Winds’ CHAOS RISING sounds exactly alike, and said songs are pretty lousy by themselves.
Starting off with the slithering, slow-paced instrumental groove “Slowly We Frost,” CHAOS RISING begins with a promising start. An unsettling acoustic arpeggiation behind the dirgelike, 80’s guitar riff adds a marvelously evil vibe that transitions into shrieking guitar feedback, which brings us to the “real” start of the album. Sadly, the opener is as good as this album gets. “World’s End” is a predictably average piece of death/thrash metal with suitably speedy riffs and a solo halfway through. I almost liked this song enough to ignore the sloppy guitar/drum sync during a couple of awkward blastbeats, noting that super-technically precise drumming is almost clichéd in metal these days. It wasn’t til later that I regretted giving this small Swedish outfit the benefit of the doubt.
Following this average thrash/death song is another average thrash/death song, “Annihilation and Chaos.” That same 80’s thrashy backbeat is present along with the same grindingly simplistic guitar riffs – and let’s not forget that same unremarkable blackened death scream that is utterly indistinct from the ones used by nearly every other mediocre death metal band today. We get about 45 seconds of slowdown on “Destruction Invocation” before the exact same guitars, backbeat, and vocals kick in again, all at a predictable 4/4 beat at roughly the same tempo as each song before it. All this same-ness continues track after track, with no letup or dynamics. Trying to listen to this album is like watching a racecar repeatedly careen into the same wall because the car’s driver hasn’t figured out how to use the brake or steer. The only “break” we get is a grungy, wimpy down-tempo snoozer called “Ballade of Death” that despite the slowdown, still fails to stand out. Afterwards, it’s back to the same wearing grind.
Not to gripe too specifically, but one of the elements that makes CHAOS RISING so unbearable to listen to is how shoddy the drumming is. While at first I didn’t mind the loose feel, it soon became clear that either they didn’t record this to a click track or one Thomas Hedgren isn’t up to par. Whenever we hear a blastbeat, it seems markedly out of tempo and sync with the other instruments. Fills are markedly minimal. On top of this, the album has been mixed in such a way that listening for more than 10 minutes is extremely tiring. It’s hard to describe exactly, but there’s something physically draining about this CD that makes extended listens unbearable. Some metal bands might take that as a compliment, but when a crappy mix affects an individual’s ability to take in your music, you know that a line was crossed at least half a mile back.
I realize that during the 80’s thrash movement, shoving 30 minutes of breakneck metal mayhem into the listener’s face was the cool thing to do, because nobody had ever done it before. However, it’s currently 2009 – I expect a token degree of evolution from a modern artist that is trying to do more than simply pay tribute to those who have come before. But Suicidal Winds hasn’t evolved – they’re stuck in 1983 trying to play death metal, and they aren’t even remotely good at it.
In the name of all that is metal, avoid this record like you would a hippie drum circle. There’s absolutely nothing of value that this knickknack band can offer.
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