Lost Soul

There are few things in the reviewing world as satisfying as a really well done, no frills death metal album. Oh sure, discovering new bands and experiencing originality and genre expanding acts is nice, but the visceral, pulse quickening feeling of perfectly rendered death metal is still a rewarding experience. And Chaostream is such an experience.After their Relapse debut Scream of the Morning Star, Poland’s Lost Soul seemed poised to rise to the top of Poland’s storied death metal ranks, but inactivity and a hard to find and unheralded sophomore album, Ubermensch – Death of God, Lost Soul kind of drifted back into the seething mass of second tier acts. Well, now signed to Earache, and again fully committed to their cause, Lost Soul have returned with a vengeance and at a time when acts like Behemoth and Decapitated are carrying the Polish death flag high, Lost Soul again seemed poised to grab the flag for themselves. Granted, like fellow Poles Trauma, Lost Soul have neither the big name allure of Behemoth or the discography of Vader, but skill and talent wise, Lost Soul easily match up with their peers. Not quite as technically exhaustive as Yattering, but certainly complex, and with Vader’s straight up savagery, Lost Soul are a complete act who have honed their craft to a blistering yet intricate level of brutality.

There is little fanfare, experimentation or evolution to Lost Soul’s well traveled sound, but as an example of liquefying death metal, Lost Soul has found their comfort zone. Each of the nine tracks on Chaostream flows with unbridled aggression and complexity in perfect symbiotic harmony and is free from the interludes of Ubermensch. Never veering into overly intricate or predictably brutal, Lost Soul simply composes ‘perfect’ death metal. From the swirling vortex of opener “Word of Sin”, through the lengthy yet refined “The Birth of Babalon”, the entire album never ceases to deliver. What makes Lost Soul’s delivery is their ability to craft wickedly lacerating blast beats layered with almost simple riffs, and the end result is a deceiving complexity that is actually more simple and robust than it sounds. For example, album standout “God State” has a destructive pace and percussive assault, but the main riff remains surprisingly simple, but when mixed, the track becomes a massive twisted mass of death metal destruction. The riffs also generally stay pretty low end, avoiding squealing staccato antics of US death metal, so again, despite the obvious levels of intricacy, come across as more down tuned and barbaric.

Of course, as is par with any great death metal album, Chaostream has its moments of menacing, lumbering control amid its seething visage. Even though most of the tracks contain some sort of slower, more reined in malevolence, “Christian Meat”, is this album’s concerted, ominous track of slithering hate, showing a crawling Morbid Angel-esque pacing. The album also contains two, 6 plus minute tracks in the form of “The Hidden Law” and “The Birth of Babalon” that displays Lost Soul’s ability to create depth and development within the realms of ferocity. There are not many acts that can keep your interest beyond three or four minute bursts and still keep the track interesting yet savage, but Lost Soul manage to do so with ease and still have the ability to deliver more immediate stabs of intensity (“Death Crowns All”, “Mortal Cage”).

As with all quality death metal post the Swedish and US explosions of the early 90’s, Lost Soul isn’t reinventing the wheel, they are just making the wheel do what its supposed to do. Wrapped in a pristine production, with a stout yet clear vocal performance from Jacek Grecki and a few supine solos, Chaostream is the very epitome of death metal done right. And while Behemoth’s Demigod will no doubt garner more praise, Chaostream has actually given me far more entertainment.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 5th, 2005


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