Thursday, October 20, 2011

Black Chalice- Years of Flame

One man death metal band Black Chalice is back for their second release filled with all things ugly and rotten. While Years of Flame does still maintain the very raw tone that sets them apart, there have been quite a few major shifts in sound since the previous release. There are four tracks here (one of which was also used on Prayers For Our Lord And Savior) and the total playtime comes in at a hefty thirty minutes.

The main thing people will notice is how much things have slowed down since the first release. We got to hear this side of the band previously on the track "Infallibility of Semen" (which is also featured on this album) but Years of Flame takes that aspect of the band to new heights. There is a massive amount of melody featured here which is something that Prayers was almost completely devoid of. This is a change that is sure to split audiences that enjoyed Prayers. Fans of the track "Infallibility of Semen" will most likely be fine with the direction Black Chalice has went in, if not, you might want to look elsewhere.

The atmosphere on Years of Flame is thick as can be. An extremely haunting, depressing vibe is given off throughout the course of the album. This is the perfect soundtrack to the life of someone who always feels like they have a dark storm cloud lingering above them wherever they go. Even in the midst of all the distortion the riffs all remain lucid and fully intact. Nothing is lost is translation and all the notes float around in the head of the listener for them to savor even after the music has ceased.

The vocal style used here is very simple. They can be heard a bit more than before and aren't drenched in as much distortion. There is a major echo that makes it sound as though the vocals were recorded in some big open space, this adds to the lingering atmosphere that this album is overflowing with. A drum machine is still used but it has very little effect on the overall sound of the album. The lurking pace tends to help-out in terms of making the drums seem more realistic though.

Overall Black Chalice has taken a major risk with the release of Years of Flame. Luckily it has paid off. I can't exactly say which style I prefer them to play, mainly because Prayers was a bludgeoning effort that isn't quite so easy to come by. I wouldn't be mad if they keep putting out slow, doomy, melodic melodic music like this though, because to be honest, this is about as close as you can get to perfection playing this style. Sure, there may be plenty of bands out there churning out music like this but very few, if any, do it this well.

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