Jan 2013 01

Chemical Waves - Home DemoChemical Waves
Category: Darkwave
Album: Home Demo
Stars: 2
Blurb: Without a sense of purpose, this collection of gothic tunes is occasionally enjoyable but constantly in desperate need of artistic and technical refinement.


It’s not always a good thing for a newborn project to churn out releases left and right as if manifesting its presence on the musical front line. While there’s a good chance that some of this material might actually resonate with the audience and stick, the possibility of backfiring and preemptively diluting the act’s creative energy is equally real. With Chemical Waves’ Home Demo, Marco Cattani of Italian Halo Effect lands somewhere in the middle, offering the listeners few moments of lush, sensuous material that could have been patiently procrastinated and in due course perfected.

From the opening moments of the acoustic cacophony of “A Strange Noise,” underlined by a moody darkwave current, it is clear what Chemical Waves has set out to deliver. What is sadly missing from this midpoint release, squeezed in between a collection of brief EPs and the act’s full-length album is an overriding consistency that would dictate its progress and gel all the tracks together. The slow burning, chiming arrangement of “Engraved” emulates the gothic soundscape defined by artists like Sopor Aeternus, but it feels merely like an exploratory exercise in stylization, never actually striving to capture the same fragile balance between light and dark. While Cattani’s musicianship and general technical proficiency were proven throughout the years on board Halo Effect, this release feels undercooked, with vocals integrated strangely into the mix and often detached from the otherwise atmospheric compositions. Whether it’s the “demo” in the Home Demo that validates this stumbling condition, Chemical Waves time and again fails to provide both the compelling enough material and the level of craftsmanship expected from any mature musician. An overwhelming sense of boredom creeps in halfway through the album and from that point on (unless your patience gives in earlier in the course of the gloomy proceedings), Chemical Waves are on the path of least resistance, employing, repeatedly, the same fusion of gothic melodies and dramatic hooks. The simplistic charm of some of the melodies, with speechless tunes like “Quit Time” or “Shining” being prime examples, evokes Christopher Franke’s school of efficient TV-destined instrumentations Alas, the purpose of such elements, that lack in scope and work as subpar stopgaps is unknown, especially when Home Demo runs approximately 30 minutes. On “Drift,” the vocals are mastered into a piercing half whisper that with each word penetrates your eardrums and assaults your grey matter. There is no discernible reason for the melodramatic lyrics to overwhelm the listener with such brutal, blind force, unless it is, of course, accidental. It is a great shame since the musical aspect of “Drift,” edging on the climactic cool of cinematic romanticism, is compelling and one of the most intriguing moments on Home Demo. The similarly predisposed “Something that Burns” begs for a vocal that could support the intensifying tone, but fulfillment of the subtle piano driven chorus is denied to the audience, diminished by an uninspired invocation of the metaphorical content. With each promising trait sabotaged, Home Demo becomes an album rich in intriguing melodies that are not meant to last; a piece of work that not for a moment is able to validate its existence in this crippled form but sometimes manages to project the platonic ideal that was its inspiration and that, on several occasions, transpires through otherwise disappointing material.

With very little to set itself apart, this release is a bit of a suicide goal for Chemical Waves – a moderately skilful shot in the wrong direction that defies Cattani’s uniform vision of his musical future and through some technical gripes and lack of direction sabotages the dark, enticing soul of this new project. Raw and unfinished but at times captivating, this is hardly a nail in the coffin, but most certainly a release that should have been left either dormant or reevaluated.
Track list:

  1. A Strange Noise
  2. Engraved
  3. Shining
  4. Drift
  5. Something that Burns
  6. Quit Time
  7. Eternal Night
  8. Twilight

Chemical Waves Website http://www.chemicalwaves.blogspot.co.uk
Chemical Waves Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chemicalwaves
Chemical Waves SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/chemical-waves
Chemical Waves Bandcamp http://chemicalwaves.bandcamp.com
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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