There wasn’t much hype I saw surrounding the new self-titled album from Kaoteon. This is their third full length, in addition to a couple of singles and demos. Songwriter and band namesake Anthony Kaoteon enlisted the likes of Linus Klausenitzer from Obscura on the bass, Adrian Erlandsson from At The Gates , and vocalist Walid Wolflust. Anthony handles the guitar duties. Research tells me Linus and Walid were also part of the previous album. In fact, Walid has been the vocalist since 2001. When it comes to the pedigree of all involved, I can’t understand why it hasn’t received more coverage. I was looking forward to some fretless bass popping (you know what I mean if you have heard Obscura) from Linus and some expert drumming from Adrian. In short, I was expecting a technical death metal album. Having never heard previously of Kaoteon, I pressed play.

Let’s get it out of the way quickly. This is not a technical death metal album. So, if like me, those were the expectations, throw them aside. If you want Obscura or something which sounds like it should be on Unique Leader Records, you’d do well to look elsewhere.

The first track, “Wolves of Chaos,” starts out with a growl. We are quickly off and running. No ambient or choir intro here. Just straight into the chaos. The wolves of, as it were. Everything is very audible. You can hear the bass, but no popping. This is death/black metal with a little NWOBHM influence in the guitar playing. This is a good track to begin and lets you know what’s in store.

After a decent beginning, track 2, “Sun of the East,” isn’t doing much for me. However, the next track, “Broken,” is more of what I wanted. The verse riff is catchy and carries the track. There are some shouted vocals with a little less than 2 minutes left, which break up the monotony from Mr. Wolflust’s performance thus far. The solo, while excellent, sounds buried behind everything else, including vocals. Whatever happened to letting the soloing take front and center? At least we can say Anthony Kaoteon probably doesn’t have a large ego.

Moving past “Broken,” the next standout is “Catharsis in Unison.” This is the best track on the album. After a short intro, there’s a weeping lead, which continues throughout, and carries the song. It’s also the longest track on the album at 7 minutes. Honestly, it could have been an instrumental and I would have been fine with it. Perhaps that’s my issue with this album.

I just don’t dig the vocals. There’s nothing bad or offensive about them, but they seem more like a distraction. They are a dry roar, which is not always bad in metal, but there’s not a lot of variety or depth in them. As I kept listening to this album, picking out the good, I was wondering why it just wasn’t doing anything for me. It’s the vocals and the production. This is not a bad production, mind you. Everything can be heard well, but there’s no punch. If you have a laptop or pc with external speakers that for some reason come unhooked or paired, you press play on an album and it sounds hollow, that’s a good description of what I’m experiencing here. Oddly enough, I do like it a bit more listening through my earbuds, but that’s probably because they’re in ear and noise cancelling. Ultimately, there’s a lot to like here, but the faults listed above will likely keep me from coming back.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
April 7th, 2020


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