Chaostar – “Anomima” (2013)

Label : Season Of Mist

Review by Davide Torresan

Born in 1998, Chaostar is the side-project of Christos Antoniou, the guitarist of the symphonic death metal band Septicflesh. In this new project Christos is the driving force though he has been helped by the other members of Septicflesh. The trademark of the Greek band, which is the magniloquence of the orchestrations, is present with some various influences. In fact Christos decided to experience new music like ambient music, soundtracks, opera and a little bit of electronics. We want to call it neoclassical and operatic rock? They released albums like the self-titled debut, “Threnody”, “The Scarlet Queen” and the compilation “Underworld”. I can assure you that some songs with the divine voice of Natalie Rassoulis are beautiful enough to take your breath away. “Anomima” has just come out under the renowned label Season Of Mist. The cover of the album is really particular and I immediately recognized the graphic work of Metastazis which collaborated with bands like Alcest, Paradise Lost, Sólstafir, Ulver and Blut Aus Nord.

Nine years have passed since the last album, and this “Anomima” is the greatest ambition of what Christos wanted to experiment in his music. The album opens with the gloomy “間 (MA)” in which a slow rhythm of percussions and wind instruments with a pure tribal flavor is accompanied by a spoken part in Eastern language. In the final there is space for a little taste of the lyrical singing of Androniki Skoula. “Un pensiero per il destino” has the same oriental appeal of the previous song though the lyrics are obviously in italian. This fact gives the sensation of listening to a opera aria. “Sorrow Descending” continues this path with dreamy strings and Andoniki‘s voice that charms us making appear before our eyes the landscapes recounted in the tales of The Thousand and One Nights. In the end of the song there’s a overwhelming crescendo of the orchestra with the operatic voice. Originally Christos wanted to write a concept album based on Euripides’ antique drama “Medea”, but from the original idea it remained just the song “Medea”. The song starts with a verse narrated by the Morbid Angel‘s singer David Vincent. It’s hard to describe what comes next: there’s electronic and the voice of Androniki that sometimes is mellow and in other parts it’s definitely crazy. The end is the most disturbing I’ve ever heard from this group with harrowing screams made by the classical instruments like strings and the brass section. This song can be the perfect soundtrack for a horror movie.

In “Dilate the Time” makes its appearance the second guest, the Moonspell‘s singer Fernando Ribeiro. His dark voice matches perfectly with the one of Androniki and together with the orchestra they give a dramatic tone to the song. “Les réminiscences extatiques” is an excellent soundtrack, but the first surprise of the album is the following “Truth Will Prevail”. It has some beautiful latin choirs and some traditional instruments like the oud. Strings and percussions bring us to the last forty seconds of the song: a delirious dubstep final with the majestic choirs in the background. I couldn’t believe my ears when I listened to it the first time. I never expected to hear something like this from them and I have to admit that Christos is a fucking genius! But let’s continue with the listening. “Όμορφη κόρη (Fair Maiden)” is a quiet track thanks to the sweet sound of the kaval. Instead “The Charmer” is the jazzier song of the album with its bass sound and the histrionic voice of Androniki. Try to listen to what she can do towards the end of the song. “L’idée fixe” with the electronics, the orchestrations, the return of the narrating voice of David and the tribal percussions make us savor again the taste for oriental traditions. In “Underworld” there was a “Misery King”, but the “Anomima”‘s one is the worthy summary of the band’s skills.

Is it finished? Of course not! There’s one last surprise since I had the chance to review the limited edition of “Anomima”. There is one more song, a bonus-track: “Canticles 2”. Well, you have to forget the first version in “Threnody”, the slow rhythm and the orchestrations: brace yourselves to a track of pure techno music! The 80% of you will be disgusted but personally I can barely sit properly on my chair every time I listen to it. In conclusion, what can I say of this new work? My favorite album of Chaostar is “Threnody” but now there is also “Anomima”. If “Threnody” had some beautiful orchestrated parts and divine female vocals, in the newcomer of the band’s discography the positive notes are several. The musical proposal is quite ambitious, but I appreciated very much that they focused on the voice of Androniki, a more sperimental sound and a musical journey that would geographically embrace the whole world. I realize that not anyone can like a CD  like this, but if you are open-minded on music like myself, do not absolutely miss this release!

Rating – 92/100

 

Tracklist

  1. 間 (MA)
  2. Un pensiero per il destino
  3. Sorrow Descending
  4. Medea
  5. Dilate the Time
  6. Les réminiscences extatiques
  7. Truth Will Prevail
  8. Όμορφη κόρη (Fair Maiden)
  9. The Charmer
  10. L’idée fixe
  11. Misery’s King
  12. Canticles 2 (bonus track)

 

Line Up

  • Androniki Skoula – Vocals
  • Christos Antoniou – Instruments & composition
  • George Diamantopoulos – Traditional instruments
  • John Thermos – Synths
  • Charalampos Paritsis – Electric violin
  • Fotis Benardo – Percussion

 

Links

Facebook * Twitter * Site