I was drawn to this album by the enigmatic album cover, and then reeled in by the description of the music – “an ambitious, qualitative blend of thick doom, dreamy instrumentals and layered vocals.” Continue reading
Chronoboros play a mix of Sludge/Hardcore that shares some features of Alternative Metal and Noise Rock in its sideways approach. It reminds me of the early-to-mid-90s style in some ways, albeit with a modern delivery and a distinct personality all of its own.
Combining elements of bands such as Fudge Tunnel, Association Area, Kowloon Walled City, No Anchor, Helmet, The Dillinger Escape Plan and a plethora of others, this is an interesting and enjoyable release that shows that a band can be inventive while still having the capacity to rock out hard.
The music is complex and involved. It has a lot of depth and layers to it meaning that although these songs are quite short they make a good impression. Heavy sections compete for space with less-conventional parts and there’s a lot of good ideas on this EP that are barely explored before the band hop off once again on another exploratory trip into their unusual world.
The vocals combine harsher screams with more unusual semi-spoken vocalisations. It works a treat and is thankfully the right side of quirky.
There’s a lot of talent and promise on this release. It’s only 15 minutes long, so what excuse do you have for not checking it out?
That’s what I thought.
5 songs, 28 minutes.
I like this band. They’re playing a style that’s a bit harder to pigeon hole than most, and I haven’t really heard much too similar to this for a long time.
The band this reminds me the most of is Fudge Tunnel, only with slightly harsher vocals. If you know Fudge Tunnel at all, then it will give you a good idea of Escape Is Not Freedom’s sound. If not, then think slightly-muted and unusual Alternative Metal, done with a Noise Rock background and a raw, underground Grunge influence, before it became a big thing. Add in a few elements of Therapy? at their more Alt-Rock and a pinch of Helmet, and you have this EP.
The songs are a satisfying listen, taking me back to the 90s in many respects. If you’re looking for a few more modern references though, think a less-Sludge version of Kowloon Walled City mixed with a bit of Russian Circles.
The slightly-muted delivery is an interesting one as it is frequently presented by large riffs and energetic guitars, so how they manage to retain that subtlety and understated-edge that Fudge Tunnel did so well is beyond me. It’s partially down to the production, but also the feel of the songs themselves. It’s a very hard-to-achieve juxtaposition, but when done right, it works.
This won’t be to everyone’s tastes, (which is a silly thing to say in many ways, as you could literally say that about any band), but I have enjoyed it; not only due to the fact that it’s a little different, but also just due to the strength of the songs themselves.
If you’re looking for something a little outside of your normal comfort zone, try Escape Is Not Freedom on for size.
As a fan of their previous work, this is one I was looking forward to listening to.
Slowly expanding their Sludge Metal sound over the years to incorporate more elements of Post-Metal/Post-Hardcore, the Kowloon Walled City of 2015 is a lean, hungry beast that produces slow, heavy songs that pulse with an underlying energy.
Like a lot of their album covers, including this new one, their music speaks of an urban minimalism and decay. Haunting melodies and and riffs are covered in a modern veneer that’s showing the age of what lies just underneath. Rather than being a bad thing as one might assume, this allows the band an air of instant authority and gravitas, as if their music is older than it actually is.
The songs explore this broken down landscape with the relentless inevitability of something that knows what it’s going to find so can therefore take its time in getting there.
The vocals have a little less sharpness to them on this release and sound a little smoother, more liquid and malleable in delivery. The singer still has a quirkiness to his delivery though, and if anything this side of his voice is more apparent on Grievances than on previous releases.
Kowloon Walled City have returned with another slab of melancholic, dystopian Doom-Sludge, and I’m all the happier for it.
As the singer shouts out on the title-track – “Celebrate”!