If anyone deserves a break, it’s Chosen. Older readers will remember their excellent demos, which each fused well written melodies with technical proficiency, and more importantly, emotion.
Then they seemed to go quiet. They seemed to: but in fact the creative duo of Paul Shields and Dave McCann actually moved to Canada to continue the band there.
They’ve been back for a few years now, experiencing setback after setback in trying to get a lineup solidified. Rather than be deterred, the duo that formed the core of the band have just decided to plough on and do it themselves – and what remarkable results they’ve achieved on this debut album.
It opens with what almost seems homage.
As toms rumble inward, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic opening from Death’s ‘Human’ – the dull thud of ‘Flattening Of Emotions’.
There’s no secret that Chosen have always been influenced by Chuck Schuldiner’s songwriting and sound. But the times have moved on, and Chosen have moved with them. There’s as much Gojira in their sound nowadays as anything else, and this album’s muscular production enhances the darkly mechanical groove that they’ve now got comprehensively nailed.
In many ways, this album is the true sum of the band’s influences. ‘Defective Prospection’ opens with a sci-fi pummel that’s pure vintage Fear Factory in the best possible way, before launching into that helicopter blade chop first heard on Meshuggah’s ‘I’. It’s pretty breathtaking stuff.
Their songwriting quality also shines on ‘The Narcissism Epidemic’, which convulses through a dozen excellent riffs before literally exploding into a frantic blastbeat for the end section – and you know about it when Dave McCann is blasting.
I think of all things though, the biggest surprise in their new format is the excellent quality of Paul Shields’ vocal efforts. He had a very tough act to follow when stepping into the shoes of Carl King, who’s almost Kirk Windstein delivery was a real treat.
Yet Paul has made the role his own, even including Cynic esque robo-vocals at points. His rasp is pretty good, but the real highlight here is definitely his clean work. It’s powerful, never loses the note and never sounds timorous the way many heavy singers can when making their first forays into singing properly.
In truth the only dud on here is the rather irritating ‘Mental Clarity’, which sort of lacks exactly that – it’s a bit of a ponder round some first year philosophy lyrics and riffs that don’t really do much service to everything else on the album. It feels like a song they had to do, rather than one they reallly engaged with.
Things get back on track in no time however, and the band just sail through the remainder. ‘Diminishment’ is pure Gojira, while influences from Cynic and Nevermore pepper the rest of it. It’s a mix of all that’s great – Death, Nevermore, Atheist, Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Dark Tranquility all find their home in Chosen’s sound.
The production is almost impossibly beefy for just two dudes, and really lets the kick drums in particular punch through with a noticeable effect on the air pressure around your speakers. The tone is just incredible.
So fair play to Chosen, not just for sticking with it through thick and thin, but for forging a molten metal machine of an album that screams quality from it’s every note.
This is the new sound of Metal in Ireland – a new generation has taken over, putting out music of sometimes boggling quality and tone, taking the best influences from extreme metal’s past while looking ahead to the future.
And in Chosen’s case, the calibre of their work is the very sound of perseverance.
4.2 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 10/06/13