CHRONOSPHERE - Embracing Oblivion

Chronosphere - Embracing Oblivion

10 songs
43:27 minutes
***** ****
Punishment 18


The band photo looks a little strange: four quite young and long haired guys in red trousers, black and/or white t-shirts and black leather jackets... Might as well be some kind of emo rock band, but their label claims they are one of the new wave of thrash death metal bands from Athens in Greece. Now I am still as clueless as before. So letís give a listen to Chronosphereís second longplayer Embracing Oblivion.

...and what a surprise that was! The first four seconds of the opener Killing My Sins are ultrafast and quite unexpected, and then just as sudden it turns into a fast paced thrash metal track that combines all the great elements of old Testament and even older Metallica. But donít expect these guys to be just a clone of their predecessors, because there is an underlying progressive element pervading the entire album. Once I read that Toxikís very own Josh Christian played a guitar solo on the track Herald The Uprising, it all finally made sense. Just like this underrated technical speed metal band from the Eighties, Chronosphere also place themselves in the hazardous no manís land between progressive and extreme metal, a finicky zone where the music might be to raw for the proggies and too complex for the thrashers.

And maybe thatís why I love the Greeksí music so much. There may hardly be any moments of respite on the album, and all the elements involved have been heard before, but Chronosphere are smart enough to assemble them in a way that hardly any other band does. The vocals sound like a young and hungry offspring of James Hetfield and Chuck Billy, if such a thing were biologically possible. The guitar work is tremendous, playing at highest speeds without ever taking a break, and still sounding as technical as hell. The rhythm section offers a fitting backbone that carries the three quarters of an hour long record over the finishing line.

Itís no use picking out favourites, because all ten songs have their undeniable merits. I am fully aware that some of what I wrote before might scare away the less adventurous metal fans, but the more open-minded community will find in Embracing Oblivion one of the freshest technical speed thrash metal albums to have come out in a very long time. Considering that Toxik havenít released a new album in a quarter decade (although they are apparently working on a new record), Embracing Oblivion should be the ideal target buy for everyone who wants their thrash metal in a headier way or their prog metal without any pretentiousness.

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