Chaos Echoes’ transformation into strange, cosmic beast puts unexpected spin on ‘Mouvement’

Photo by Leito de Courson

Setting expectations can be a dangerous thing. If you situate yourself in them too deeply, you’re bound to be disappointed by the result because you have so much invested in your vision. At the same time, it’s OK to have standards and a hope that whatever you’re anticipating ends up being satisfying.

Anyone with an idea about what they might unpack on Chaos Echoes’ second record “Mouvement” is bound to be completely floored by what they hear on this six-track, nearly 33-minute collection. That could be a good or bad thing. If you are expecting the malicious, smothering amalgamation of doom and death metal that you received on their hour-long 2015 debut “Transient,” you’re not going to get anything even close to that. This feels like an entirely different animal, a completely modified version of this French beast. The music on “Mouvement” is not entirely unrecognizable (especially if you checked in with last year’s “The Unfathomable” EP), but it has completely transformed into something else. The band—Kalevi Uibo (guitars/vocals/effects), Steffan Thanneur (bass/effects/vocals) (Ilmar Uiobo (drums/vocals)—imagined the impact of the outside world on an individual, and they worked toward simplifying their process as they created these songs. Oh, above you see vocals attributed to each member. There aren’t any on this album, save for some bizarre chants toward the end of the record. This is a mainly instrumental affair, and it’s amazingly compelling.

The first four tracks are woven together, basically acting as individual movements for a larger whole. “Embodied by Perfidious Curls in the Innervated Flux” makes you think it’s going to be like their past, as wild howls and a black metal-style assault get going, but then a drizzling haze takes over, and we get into dramatic start-stop thrashing. Dramatic, grinding fury erupts, and then things turn fluid and violent and spill into “As an Embraceable Magma Leading the Subliminal” that feels weird at the start before the bass begins to drive. Slurry guitars and a jolting atmosphere emerge, and then air-infused strangeness seeps in, before proggy madness erupts, and the music boils and simmers. The noise hangs in the air, and we spin in the cosmos before encountering “Surrounded and Amazed by These Unplumbed Abysses of the Inverted Sea” and its sludgy pounding. Calm arrives, but then strings are struck, and a doomy haze falls. The playing smothers, and then it’s right on to “Through Kaleidoscopic Haze of Unexpected Extents” and its guitar smog. Power smolders, and then the steam rises, bringing with it another prog onslaught that rises, burns, and finally fades away.

The final two tracks take up half the run time and are both separate entities. “Shine On, Obsidian! Ego! Ego! Echo Back to the Yearning of the Self!” begins with ominous, dirty riffs, and things just get thicker and meaner from there. Drone and scraping power come out of the cracks, as weirdness floats, a sickening pace wears away at your senses, and the rhythm section chews your flesh. The track drones and scrapes, as weirdness floats in the air, and then shit goes off. The tempo brings sludge, as the band increases the heat, your mind is disoriented, and you’re driven into a dizzying submission. “Alas! Here Is the Feebles’ Assent, Exalted By Your Mouth Full of Flies” finishes off the record as we are situated into cleanliness and serenity, as noise hangs in the air, and the drums patter. The pace is calculated, as it’s easy to have your head swell, but then then the drumming lulls you into a trance. Chants, which we mentioned earlier, feel earthly and spiritual, and that oddness continues and captures your mind, as we head off into utter strangeness.

I doubt the metamorphosis Chaos Echoes have undergone is over, as we’re probably just experiencing this version momentarily on “Mouvement.” As the band works their way through their visions, it’s safe for all of us to keep our expectations tempered as we experience each chapter. As long as they keep making music this fascinating, we’re willing to follow them wherever they go.

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