PICK OF THE WEEK: Chaos Moon’s weird, cosmic black metal gets raw edge on ‘Eschaton Memoire’

It seems at least once a year, some batshit weird group comes out and declares that the end of the world is near due to some mathematical formula or bastardized Bible passages. The date is declared, it passes, nothing happens, and everyone goes back to their lives. Yet, one day, humanity will come to an end, whether it’s gradually or suddenly.

Philadelphia-based black metal band Chaos Moon seem to want to hit the acceleration pedal on the whole thing, as they weave and dream of the end of humankind in their music. On the band’s fourth record “Eschaton Memoire,” they pave a path of death, foreseeing the end times in as violent a manner as possible and seeing the scorched earth as a killing field that leaves no one unscathed. The five-track, 41-minute record is violent psychologically, but there are other elements mixed into their style that make them spookier and spacier. The music gets into your bloodstream and causes you to see visions and Apocalyptic horror that, while it’s tearing the earth apart, is so fascinating you must watch everything burn to the ground. The band—Eric Baker (vocals), Alex Poole (guitars and atmosphere), Steven Blackburn (guitars and atmosphere), and Jack Blackburn (drums)—elevates what they accomplished on the excellent 2014 record “Resurrection Extract” and everything that preceded it and rips out one of the most fascinating black metal records this year.

“The Pillar, The Fall, and The Key (I)” plunges the record into dark eeriness, as the music takes hold and makes it feel like you’re gazing into a freezing midnight sky. Blackness erupts, while wild shrieks send glass flying, and the shadows get darker and more dangerous. The guitars then soar into space and toward the stars, bleeding into “The Pillar, The Fall, and The Key (II)” that sinks into unexpectedly moody playing. Crazed growls and wild shrieks mix and lead the way, while the sound continues to dash past planets, the power bristles again, and the music crushes for a final stretch before trickling away. “Of Wrath and Forbidden Wisdom” is a beast at 10:22, slowly simmering in echoes and weirdness before the cloud coverage spreads, and the storm saturates the earth. Harsh growls and mesmerizing melodies do their part to confound, while the pain builds, and the music blisters away. Melody swims and goes serene before the flood gates reopen and begin filling everything with misery. “Stench of death fills the air!” Baker growls, while the guitars immerse your being, and the song gives way to mercy.

“Eschaton Mémoire (I)” starts in a synth fog before it begins punching its way out, and Baker’s vocals start tearing holes in the surroundings. The band brings thick darkness, as the song turns raw and vicious, nodding toward the roots of black metal and tending to the chaotic fires. The track then steers into a cold fog, as keys blend into the hellish visions, and then it sails into the 13:56 second half and closer “Eschaton Mémoire (II).” Massive shrieks penetrate as the music cascades, and the band then brings a sonic stampede, which begins to speed up dangerously. The pace pummels, while the vocals wrench, and then things cool off and allow you to gather a breath. But that’s not for long, as the onslaught renews, and the storm spreads its reach. The violence remains persistent but slowly dissolves into the mud, while noise hovers, a space haze darkens your vision, and the nightmare spirals away.

Chaos Moon’s vision of the end is a harrowing, imaginative one, even if that includes all human flesh being burned to a crisp. “Eschaton Memoire” is an excellent record that provides different pathways into your mind with every visit and is as mentally stimulating as it is violent. This is a powerful document, the last great black metal record of the year.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chaos-Moon/111626415515769

To buy the album, go here (U.S./Canada): https://www.blood-music.com/store-us/

Or here (rest of the world): https://www.blood-music.com/store-eu/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.blood-music.com/

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