Chton
The Devil Builds

For anybody wondering what happened to Chton, the answer is simple: they disappeared for a period of time to focus on other projects and when the time was right, created another album. Aside from a demo in 2006 called Death Awaits, the metal world hasn’t heard a peep for the Trondheim, Norway residents since their debut album Chtonian Lifecode in ’04. Eight years into the future, the world is treated to The Devil Builds.

Aside from a cleaner production in some areas like the guitars and vocals, not much has changed with Chton in the near-decade of absence. They still pound away in traditional death metal style and they follow the simple blueprint that so many have before and since their debut. In short, there are plenty of death growls, double bass attacks, mid-paced blast beats and monstrous riffing. However, though Chton color in every area on the page, they rarely – if ever – stray outside the lines in an attempt to create anything unique.

That’s not to say The Devil Builds is a waste of time for any listener. But for anybody seeking something even remotely original, this album is not the place to look. Each of the ten tracks follows the exact path as the one before, and after a while the songs lose their focus. There is rarely a moment that stands out as a keystone on the album and since the songs all bleed into one another, it’s somewhat difficult to keep the listener’s attention.

While the production is a bit cleaner than on Chtonian Lifecode, the overall feel of The Devil Builds is a bit too polished. The drums aren’t as thunderous as they should be on a death metal album; their pitter-patter delivery takes much of the venom away from the songs’ fangs. And the guitars, while clear, aren’t as bestial as they were eight years ago, which unfortunately sucks some of the life away from the music as well.

Granted, fiends of death metal will probably enjoy the long player in question, but it won’t blow anybody away. It’s a solid effort for a comeback album of sorts, but there are too many areas on The Devil Builds that have been done to death a million times already. It’s a decent filler album until either A) Chton releases a stronger follow-up or B) one of the better, more adventurous DM veterans releases their next opus, which is more likely the case.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
November 20th, 2012

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