An excellent debut that's sure to be a winner
Perth (Western Australia) quintet Chaos Divine impressed me with their first outing, an E.P. Ratio, released in 2006. Since its release, the group (who are vocalist Dave Anderton, guitarists Simon Mitchell and Ryan Felton, bassist Michael Kruit and drummer Chris Mitchell) have landed several high profile tour support slots for international acts such as Slayer, Fear Factory and Trivium as well as heading out on their first Australian tour. Now, some two years since the release of Ratio, Chaos Divine are back with their debut long player dubbed Avalon, and it certainly delivers a varied mix of material. Most importantly, once again these guys have dropped a fantastic mix of impressive and dynamic song writing.
The opening cut, Contortion, is musically brilliant. At times, Part Devildriver (during the growled vocals) and at times part Nevermore-like with clean vocals that bring a fantastic dynamic to the mix, this is one hell of a number that sets a very high standard for the rest of the album to keep up with. Our Delusion is up to the task with its Fear Factory like staccato attack during the verses and again impressive clean vocals during the sweeping, slower chorus. However, the album loses momentum with Refuse The Sickness as it lacks any real lasting punch unlike the preceding tracks. It's a welcome return when the title track, Avalon, immediately exudes an epic feel that carries throughout, even across the fairly seamless mood swing that drops in at the two minute mark. Cages is another that is musically very interesting as it clearly has its own personality within the album that is driven by more of Mitchell's and Felton's guitar work and the solid rhythm section of Kruit and Mitchell, topped with more of Anderton's outstanding clean vocals that soar to perfection.
There's some tight guitar work throughout Brand New Eyes but it's The Carnal Thirst that really shines as another musically amazing track chock full of highs and lows. It strikes the perfect balance between clean and growled vocals that really adds a swag of colour to an already top shelf track. It's a little Opeth like without being a rip off or too prog-like. In yet another twist and turn, Rapture pulls things back a notch or two but not at the expense of the calibre of the material that Chaos Divine has to offer. It's as aggressive as anything you'd expect from Chaos Divine, and certainly just as diverse as well. But there's even more of a sense of melody throughout which works well. It must be said that the aggressive verses of Narcosis really offer nothing original. They do sound very generic on the whole. The song's saving grace comes from its stunning chorus which grabs you and pulls you back into the fold. The album is rounded out with the sedate Alone In The Sky which once again shows just how good these guys are penning some truly engrossing, dynamic and varied material.
Avalon is a well rounded album from these West Australian metallers and certainly isn't short on song variety but not at the expense of Chaos Divine sounding confused. These guys are anything but that. There are a couple of points that fall short of the mark and sound generic, but there's more than enough here that make up for that. A little bit of Nevermore, a little bit of Opeth and a little bit of Devildriver and a good helping of originality, Avalon is a stunning debut that shines in every way. It is everything it needed to be and will most definitely elevate Chaos Divine within the ranks of the Aussie metal scene.