A quick note on 2005 business stuff. “Era Vulgaris” is by far the best selling Choronzon album so far, and the album picked up by the most digital retailers, (47 companies). Total digital sales: 1412. It’s a start. At an average 70 cent take per song, it was enough to buy paper and ink for CTW, after several months of donating all sales to hurricane relief. Veil of Thorns trails far behind, for I’ve had no new releases since 2002 and no time or resources to promote the project, an ongoing issue. As soon as I have a bit of time and more resources, I’ll be rectifying the situation for the demo remasters and the Choronzon releases of 2005, (“panic Pandemic and “New World Chaos”. Eventually all the musick will be available through Darkcell, as well as the digital services and in-store kiosks. The latest to add Choronzon is Destra, which makes the back catalogue available to several digital retailers in Australia.
choronzon “era vulgaris”
label: Foamin’ Sodomy Records
While there are moments of almost pure black metal insanity – you know, that wall of blazing guitar, demonic keyboard and hissing vocals that crushes all in its path – there are plenty of otherish moments too. First, I say almost pure black metal. I say that because while it has every element every die-hard black metal fan will vomit on themselves in joy over, there’s a distinct difference buried down under all the brutality. Which brings us to the “otherish” moments. For one thing, sort of like Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) and his solo project is thick and heavy but also ambient and epic in sound, like music that spans the skies, Choronzon also boasts a musicality that goes beyond mere black metal keyboards, an expansive and near stratospheric beauty that both encompasses and emanates from the music. Add to that the grooves (when not in full black metal mode) that push the band along and give them an industrial-influenced sound, something like the percussion does for latter day Prong. But there are places where Choronzon also roams into full-out industrial territory, like they’ve been studying up on their Ministry, Skrew and Nihil. And there are places of just plain, unique industrial-tinged metal. All told, Choronzon boasts an eclectic musicality almost never fucking seen in the scene. Know what I mean?
review written by: Upchuck Undergrind – fishcomcollective.net
Choronzon Reviewed – 07/12/04
Psychosis Ex Machina
[Foamin’ Sodomy Records]
Taking the most esoteric electronic elements possible and combining in a petri dish populated with droning metal and etheral, raspy vocals creates a musical experience that’s bewildering, terrifying, and insanely methodical at the same time. Definitely not something any fan of avant garde or progressive black metal should miss although few will probably ever appreciate this work, Choronzon makes Aborym look cheesier than Hammerfall doing a ballad with Elton John.
While Choronzon has always been blurring the lines between drug-induced terror (terrorcore might be the best description here) and atmospheric black metal, this album pushes the line more toward the former. Psychosis Ex Machina takes several lunging steps outside black metal and integrates noise and the rhythms of black metal.
This album brings in a few new twists to the Choronzon repertoire of “ways to freak you out of your fucking mind.” Here, there are several layers to the electronic segments that outstrip the capabilities of every electronic section attempted by a black metal band. Interesting enough, the guitar parts on here do not resemble extreme metal much because of the dissonance is carried out more with the synths than the guitars. The metal aspects are more along older thrash metal than 90s death metal. Most of the time, guitar is an atmospheric addition to the driving beats of the drum machine and weirded-out synth leads. Also, there are now vocal samples in the interludes between the tracks (which are really dark ambient / industrial sections). Otherwise, there’s nothing new added to the electronic repertoire that’s worth noting.
But while most groups approach hybridization techniques as juxtaposition, Choronzon is about integration. Dynamic switching between metal as the foundation and different electronic genres keeps this album fresh and unpredictable, even if there were fewer layers in the compositions. The light / dark transition I’ve mentioned before is obscured and not so obvious on this album, which is somewhat of a letdown. However, there are tracks that do transition in moods drastically.
This album differs from Era Vulgaris in that it’s a significantly darker and more chatic album – the more organic sounds of Era Vulgaris don’t make the cut much here. In less words, it’s a lot scarier and faster (ie. Asymmetrical Red Chamber) …higher-energy with dark ambient tracks interspersed. Secondly, Psychosis Ex Machina has lost a lot of the warm, spiritual themes of both Magog Agog and Era Vulgaris. But what’s replaced them are some offerings of Williams’ movement into dark ambient.
Psychosis Ex Machina is a step further in the direction of noise and black metal while fundamentally resting in the realm of general extreme metal, not just black or death or thrash, etc. If earlier Choronzon was barely listenable to most music listeners, Psychosis Ex Machina is overbearing and oftentimes suffocating in the multitude of layers. Overall, you cannot assign a single label to this sort of sound and be reasonably accurate. So even my descriptions here should be considered insufficient in describing the wealth of ideas and themes on this album.
Even after dozens of listens I’m finding more things about this record and it still has the awe and entrancing feelings of when I first heard these tracks. These are the signs of a true classic to me, and as such I have no reservations giving this work my highest recommendations.
01. Dies-Ease (Wrath)
02. The Enchanting Dead
04. Surge of Blood
05. Crossing I – The 30th Aethyr
06. Asymmetrical Red Chamber
07. Crossing II – The 29th Aethyr
09. Crossing III – The 28th Aethyr
10. Ornamental Crypto-Anarchy
Release Date: 2004
Review By: Nec