Chaos Sanctuary
Instrumentality

How does a New Jersey Tech Death based on the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion sound? Well, I am intrigued. Things get kicked off with “Synchronization.”   First impressions are a mix of Spawn of Possession with a bit of earlier Archspire. The way they use vibrato is impressive. Pretty insane musicianship from these guys. Excellent guest solo by Rick Graham on first track. As a three piece these arrangements are quite impressive. Guitarist Tony Barhoum has chops for days. “The Second Impact” opens with a cool clean tone harmony into djent like rhythms. This one is a bit thrashier and I can hear the Revocation influence. Quite impressed with how they fit so many breakdowns into each track while still maintaining the technicality and catchiness.

“The Phlegmatic Invader” is one of the most progressive tracks and starts off more on the djent side before going into a jazz fusion section that would make the Jarzombek Brothers Proud (Watchtower, Spastic Ink). This track is one that has so much going on it that it can be hard to follow. Do not get me wrong. The musicianship is top notch. As clean as the production is it should be noted that the bass and synth lines are programmed which does not necessarily take anything away. It is just something to be mindful of. Barhoum’s legato lead work is outstanding. “Reassimilated” has a gorgeous clean riff introduction before the drums and other instruments kick in. Vocalist Dave Palenske does a fantastic job making his presence felt during these incredibly intricate song arrangements.

I do like that Chaos Sanctuary keeps their song length range in between three to five minutes. I feel with this style longer arrangements can be harder to keep the listener’s attention. “Signal Extinction” starts off incredibly thrashy and then comes back to a slower tempo groove before things pick up tempo again. Drummer Frank E’rasmo does some incredible work throughout Instrumentality. I cannot believe these guys are a three-piece. This year is going to be a busy one for technical death metal and I am glad I am hearing this so early in the year.

“Blood of Secrecy” has one of the most frantic mechanical riffs on the album. If you are a fan of the newer Decapitated, you will enjoy the hell out of this. I am honestly flabbergasted by how many tempo changes and style changes Chaos Sanctuary put into each song. “Pen Pen” opens with a beautiful sounding clean intro. One band of influence I hear is Dream Theater. Especially on solos. There is a subtle John Petrucci vibe going on throughout the album. The album finishes with the title track which is a furious way to finish things up. One of the heavier songs on the album. This may not be for everyone in terms of approach, but one thing is for sure, these guys are top notch musicians. I look forward to seeing what these guys do in the future. Give this one a chance.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
February 8th, 2024

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