In a furious return three years after Resurrection Extract, Chaos Moon re-establish their bitter atmospheric take on black metal and reach a creative peak with the ambitious Eschaton Memoire.
Formed by Alexander Poole (aka Esoterica) in the early 2000s, Chaos Moon should be considered part of the US black metal pantheon, standing next to artists like Leviathan, Krieg and Judas Iscariot. However, the band's sparse output caused them to fly under the radar, despite the high-quality of Origin of Apparition and Languor Into Echoes, Beyond, which were among the releases to establish the philosophy and modus operandi of the scene. Raw and primitive in their approach, with an excellent handle on the atmosphere, Poole was fusing the relentless black metal side with a funeral injection of settings and ambiances.
Release Date: 17 Nov 2017
As the band entered a state of hiatus in 2011, it felt like Chaos Moon would not rise again to produce their grand take on black metal. Fortunately, Poole resurrected the band in 2013, releasing the excellent Resurrection Extract the year after. Following in the footsteps of the first two records, the band's third album retained the aggressive outlook, alongside its more atmospheric leanings. However, it did not take the additional steps necessary to fulfill the evolution of the band's vision and sound. That is what Eschaton Memoire comes to rectify.
The main change for Chaos Moon is Poole's re-establishment of the band, which now includes other members. In the past, Poole was responsible for all the instruments and vocals, with few exceptions through the years. Chaos Moon now feels like a full-band, with the inclusion of Eric Baker on vocals, Steven Blackburn on guitars and Jack Blackburn on drums. This change appears to have filled the band with a new purpose, and that also resonates in their take on the music. Even though the sound still exists within the atmospheric black metal realm, it travels further back in time to the days of Emperor, where the melodic element was heartily injected within the aggressive black metal structures.
Chaos Moon's attention has always been focused on the ambiance, and that still holds true for Eschaton Memoire.The introduction to "The Pillar, The Fall and The Key I" speaks to that fact, enabling the hellish atmosphere to set in before the heavier side is fully exposed. The choice of synths and the overall look on the atmospheric side is one of the strongest elements in the new record and one that ties in perfectly with the melodic edge the band is exploring.
Yet, it is the quality of the production in Eschaton Memoire, that sees the band making strides when compared to their earlier work. In the past, Poole had implemented a raw and more lo-fi production technique, which even though truer when it comes to the stylistic demands of black metal, it hindered the full range of their atmospheric and melodic sides while allowing the dissonant edge to be more pronounced. But Eschaton Memoire strikes a brilliant balance between the two, allowing melodies to find their place, bringing the ambiance further to the front, while at the same time not losing this primitive essence when it comes to the proper outbreaks, all the through a pristine production. Everything is in the light right now, and the result could not be darker. The volatility of Chaos Moon is fully revealed, as they travel through the haunting soundscapes to moments of deep melancholy and epic grandeur. The crystalline lead work is the main guide through this spiraling journey, displaying the elusive characteristics of the bitter psychedelia that US black metal started to encompass during the mid-2000s.
It might have taken a while for Chaos Moon to reach this state, a surprising result considering how potent and promising the two early records of the band were. From these diamonds in the rough, Chaos Moon has further explored its sound, and with Eschaton Memoire Poole and company have reached the summit.