Category: Industrial / Rock
Album: Brave New Apocalypse
Blurb: Striking the perfect balance between effective and intelligent songwriting and strong percussive and instrumental prowess, CHANT’s third album is definitely the band’s best effort yet.
There are few things more frustrating – both for artist and audience – than when the sheer power and raw volume of the live performance simply can’t be captured in the studio environment. Such has been the case with CHANT, the tribal/industrial project of one Bradley Bills, for while the man has garnered an impressive reputation as a drummer, his 2007 album That Which Divides and 2010’s Strong Words for Strong People simply could not convey the breadth of his musical ability – a fine showcase for his percussive prowess, but lacking in the fine balance between the spectacle and the songwriting. But now, with Brave New Apocalypse, Bills finally delivers on CHANT’s promise with an album that comes the closest he has yet to a full presentation of poignant lyricism, melody, and above all, rhythm.
The title track begins the proceedings as a distant and ominous scattering of rhythmic noises enters, evoking a sense of tension that never lets up once the sustained bass, metallic clangs, a distorted piano interlude, and Bills’ acerbic warnings that “new days are dangerous” burst through the speakers. Immediately setting the tone, “Brave New Apocalypse” follows the sociopolitical lyrical mold that CHANT has followed since day one, and while it may seem par for the course for the genre as a whole, there is an earnestness to Bills’ delivery that the listener knows that nothing of what he says is contrived or hackneyed – he feels this! There seems to be a thematic thread pervading songs like “Cycles,” “Repeat Repeat,” and “All the Same,” all speaking to the patterns that humanity follows with each generation treading similar paths that could ultimately lead to our downfall. At the same time, the musical strength of these songs keeps the theme from becoming a repetition unto itself, with the vicious rhythms and mechanical ambience of “Cycles” and “All the Same” contrasting with the slower, somber grooves of “Repeat Repeat,” the thrums of bass and the steely slide guitar giving the song a decidedly bluesy quality. Other tracks like “Adoration” with its densely haunting atmospheres building steadily to a dynamically up-tempo and anthemic chorus, the deadpan “love me” samples adding an eerie counterpoint to Bills’ impassioned howls, or “Bring Me the Head of the Music Critic” with its dramatic layers of percussion and chilling piano are much more visceral, though no less intense. Some may notice a hint of a Nine Inch Nails influence in the latter song, as well as in the marching fury of “Create to Destroy,” and the thrashing guitar-heavy assault of “Manifesto,” while “Song I Never Wanted” ends the album with what almost sounds like a throwback to the alt. rock ballads of the ‘90s with its heart-wrenching pianos and pleading lyrics, making for a lush and beautiful closer.
Even with producers like Martin Atkins and Chris Telkes helming CHANT’s first two albums, respectively, there was a discernible lack of punch on those albums that is actually fully present – and then some – on Brave New Apocalypse with KMFDM’s Sascha Konietzko offering his assistance with the mix. As well, the added presence of guest musicians like Evil Mothers’ Patrick McManis, KMFDM’s Jules Hodgson, Black December’s Erik Gustafson, and CHANT live members Kristopher Robin and Alvin Melivin, only serves to accentuate Bills’ songs that are as emotive and personal as they are expressive and far reaching in their lyrical scope. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the appropriately titled “Universal,” which plays like the album’s centerpiece with a forceful and furious chorus that screams, “You and I together ‘til the end of everything!” CHANT has finally come into its own with Brave New Apocalypse, striking an excellent balance between intelligent songwriting and technical proficiency… in other words, the band’s best album yet!
Website, Brave New Apocalypse Website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, Bandcamp
Website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Bandcamp (WTII Records)
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)