Chaos Echoes formed from the ashes of technical death metal act Bloody Sign, and arrived in the scene with their debut EP Tone of Things To Come. Their work, self-released until their debut record, grabbed the attention of Nuclear War Now!, who released the band’s first album, Transient. In their first full-length Chaos Echoes attempted to fit every influence and sonic extremity fathomable, resulting in a multilayered work that was bizarre and complex. However, beneath the messy sound and ambition one could detect the promise of a much more potent and complete release.
In the three years that have passed since Transient, and listening now to the band’s new album, Mouvement, it really feels like Chaos Echoes understood the problematic areas of their sound crafting and compensated for them. Dialling down the amount of influences and elements appearing into their music, Mouvement feels like a much more direct and straightforward offering, capable of appearing extreme and experimental, but without drowning itself in a sea of information.
On the extreme metal side, Chaos Echoes still invokes the weight of doom metal, capable of crafting imposing structures, such as the heavy as shit “Surrounded and Amazed…”. The grandeur that this doom/death approach brings forth is further expanded with the experimental tendencies of the band, with the use of alternate instrumentation and minimalistic compositions. On the other hand, black metal has become a much more central piece for Chaos Echoes’ visions, acting as the main force through the inharmonious injections. Dissonant parts merge with blasting drums and sharp guitars to lead this black metal recital to further explosive moments.
It is all coupled with the technical aptitude displayed by these guys, who are able to play pretty much anything. The rhythmic structures of this work are simply over the top, moving rapidly through different modes and adding a further layer of dissonance to go with the bitter lead work and the impressive weight of the album. The drumming is sensational and it grants a sense of unpredictability to the record, something that makes the whole result that much more potent.
However, the one factor that really does it for the album is the krautrock element that Chaos Echoes has decided to focus on. Even though aspects of that were present in Transient, the other elements caused the presence of kosmische Musik to remain hidden under the surface. But in Mouvement, its presence is overwhelming and becomes the prime force of the record, arriving with a mesmerizing sound and a psychedelic quality that perfectly compliments the band’s experimental spirit. Guitar lines appear as through an acid trip and the repetitive patterns act as an anchor for the progression. The alchemical procedure of merging the krautrock motif with a black metal edge sees Chaos Echoes create their own dark, psychedelic identity, converging into an ever repeating, ever changing haze. Slowly descending towards the abstract realms, the album closes in a brilliant fashion with faint voices and tribal-esque progression plunging the listener into this lucid dream.
This record is a real step-up for Chaos Echoes, and it is a work of maturity. Where Transient appeared to agonize over a set identity and following a specific path, Mouvement completely embraces that. It is a record that is extreme and arrives with conviction, and one that is adventurous but without losing focus. It is a fine balance and Chaos Echoes have managed to retain it through the 35 minutes of this work.