Fall of Stasis – The Chronophagist (2022) – Review

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Do 50 minutes of airtime seem excessive to you? The old hands at the RMR office tower still prefer those vinyl-imposed 40 minutes or so. But this is only because they’re ancient as metalheads go. Yet sometimes, we come across pieces that make 30 minutes seem like an eternity, they’re so intense. Usually, you’ll find those records in the tech-death realm with totally overheated vibes and a speed problem.

Now here, a Melodic Death Metal record with a severe tinge of black found us out. The Chronophagist,1) Fall of Stasis‘s happily crazy record, indeed made us check our own sanity a few times during that very long playtime.

Bizarre record name apart, the band hits you with a chaotic jambalaya of styles and flavors that we hardly found before in metalheads nirvana. Some – thing that sounds as if some incarnation of Cthulhu had taken over the studio to wreak some havoc. A kind of malevolent form of Rammstein of the post-nuclear era that lost all connection with Till Lindemann. One that contains a pandemonium of sounds that cannot decide if it wants to be Exanimis or Alestorm2). Try Drunken Howl, if you don’t believe good ol’ RMR.

So, there. One more mean review just ended, right? Well, no. Because – you see – despite all that frantic madness, The Chronophagist is a fascinating piece. One that will pull you forward with an unholy hunger for more. We’ll even forgive them the circus/stage theme that requires true excellence if you want to push through, it is in such overuse. Or – in other words – the thing with the toothy evil clown won’t work that well anymore.

At first, there are Jessica Dupré‘s expert Black Metal rasps that constantly collide with Death Metal growls and some shouted clears and choirs that seem to emerge straight from Anaal Nathrakh‘s backyard. Yes, Swarm of Casualties, I’m looking straight at ye. Some decent tremolos – together with the aforementioned rasps – will make sure that the piece stays reasonably blackened. Now, the frequent change of batons from bass to guitars and – yet again – to keyboards actually add to the allure of The Chronophagist.

Heated exchanges of rasps and tremolo suddenly go head-to-head with stately piano interludes and other acoustics. Swirls of Tech Death abruptly trade places with some disconcerting group chanting. And in the midst of all that wildly erratic metal cocktail, you’ll suddenly detect some pretty decent prog vibes. Now, confusing as this may sound, all of that madness seems to make some unholy sense after a while. Or – perhaps – it doesn’t, and it was just RMR’s poor metal brain3) just shut down in disgrace.

The RMR crew here scoured the outer reaches of consciousness as to what could have allowed such a gluttony of soundscapes to happen all at once. Chaos theory in reverse, like. Finally, it comes down to the band wanting – and I quote – “…the album to showcase every member’s musical influences without compromising the quality of our music.” That’s a concept we see appearing now and again. And it almost inevitably causes the quality to suffer. There’s a reason why orchestras read from note sheets and sport conductors. But they usually don’t boast a living parliament. Else, chaos would ensue, right?

Now, to put a tent around this circus, let’s be clear that there is nothing wrong with the musical prowess over at Fall of Stasis. The Chronophagist gorges with excellent material that continuously made us return to that well of insane intensity. After all, the record is great fun with a large number of glitzy ideas that all kinda found their way onto the record.

That said, a bit more restraint and better structure would have much improved the quality of this piece. Thus, as it stands today, this F6 tornado of styles, sounds, and tastes turns this record into a long, a very long listen, even if it isn’t.

Just sayin’.

Record Rating: 6/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Official Band Site
Release Date: 25 February 2022


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