Review Summary: The Chasm lets loose with an aggressive, melody-tinged showing with a touch of progressiveness that any death metal fan should check out.
Initially hailing from Mexico, and encountering many label difficulties along the way, The Chasm relocated to Chicago in the late 90's after releasing the excellent 1998 release, Deathcult for Eternity: The Triumph
. Following the release of 2002's Conjuration of the Spectral Empire
, the band regrouped and prepared for the recording of 2004's The Spell of Retribution
. Released in October, the album features a varied mix of caustic vocals, downright spectacular guitar and drum work combined with increasingly noticeable amounts of melody. So be prepared, as this album hits like a freight train often and the flurry of riffs will blow your hair backwards as if a tornado was sitting ten feet in front of you.
As the album begins to prepare its serving, the instrumental, foreboding opener, "Form the Curse, The Scourge" begins to manifest as it churns out terrific, melodic leads. Suddenly, the sound of church bell chimes and heaviness engulfs the ears. Later, the familiar, melodic overlay makes a reappearance as the song fades out and the furious, "The Omnipotent Codex" blasts out of the stereo. Right away, the guitar work is fantastic and incredibly swift. None of the licks busted out by Daniel Corchado and Julio Viterbo get boring, and the solos are even more mind-blowing. Infused with often diabolical amounts of rapidness and technicality, while never loosing the melodic overtones that dominate the album, they are a joy to the ears and never disappoint. Some songs contain more than one of these flashy endeavors and not a single one manages to be anything less than enjoyable. Also, appearing are slower, clean sections that enhance the atmosphere of the songs significantly (Check "Retribution Of The Lost Years (I, The Pastfinder III)"). Vocally, Corchado's offering mostly consists of a deep, putrid, Jeff Walker-esque, raspy snarl and occasional detours into a piercing howl that intimidates the listener into submission. Lyrically, the album consists of mainly Egyptian/medieval-esque topics (as in evidence by the cover art), consisting of lines like, "The reaction was futile, the Commanders and Scathers, gathered for the privilege of Revenge, (To Kill) some very feeble forms of pathetic rage, They perished in Agony and Ecstasy"
(From "Conqueror and Warlord") and "A Coven of Hunters and King-priest, and a hollow structure of fallen dreams and Megalomania, infects the Crypts, of my Reign of Despair"
(From "Retribution Of The Lost Years (I, The Pastfinder III)").
As far as the rhythm section is concerned, drumming duties are held by Antonio Leon, and he electrifies on every front. Hyperactive double-bass and psychotic, crazed fills that should impress many drummers out there. Blast-beats are also abundant and rapid-fire whenever Antonio decides to pull one out of his arsenal. Drumming-wise, the album is top-notch and should be heard by drum enthusiasts everywhere. However, the bass (unknown who recorded it) is pretty much lost within the vortex of melodic guitar witchcraft, septic vocals and bludgeoning drumming. It isn't that big of an issue, however, some spots of the album could've used some bass leads to accent their heaviness and creativity.
Coming to the topic of standout tracks, the album really contains a lot of them, as no single song (excusing the instrumental intro) is under five minutes in length, allowing plenty of highlight sections within every track. "Retribution Of The Lost Years (I, The Pastfinder III)" would have to be one of the most notable tracks, containing eight minutes and five seconds of changing tempos, melancholic leads, and thrashing undertones, along with three fantastic solos, which all vary in their delivery between pure shred and slow, brooding courses. The lyrics tell a story of revenge and betrayal with such lines as the aforementioned passage and "I remain strong and strong is the will, To conquer and expulse, the decimators of the stolen Prosperity, Retribution of the Lost Years"
. It then finally closes with a church bell blaring. Other frantic showings include the duo of "The Omnipotent Codex" and "Conqueror and Warlord", the furious, riling "Fortress", the epic, nine and a half minute "The Eclipse: Monument To The Empire / I. Sentence And Burden / II. The Voyage / III. The Restitution" and the album-closing "Eternal Cycle Of Delusion". Consistently, the album delivers a pounding performance, however.
The Chasm really churned out a gem with The Spell of Retribution
. It is heavy enough to satisfy any seasoned death-head and accessible enough for any metal fan looking to get into this type of music. The only real flaw is the lack of bass, which really is spreading over a ton of metal albums like the plague. In conclusion, the record never manages to wear itself out, never becoming boring and interesting the listener throughout its length. Highly recommended, The Spell of Retribution
gets a 4.5 out of 5.