PICK OF THE WEEK: Morbid heights reached by Chapel of Disease on ‘…And as We Have Seen the Storm’

The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” is meant to imply that its subject, while proficient at many number of tasks, isn’t an expert in any one field because their abilities are stretched too thin. It does make some sense, but doesn’t it also suggest that displaying strong work in a number of areas is a waste if you can’t be a leader in one? Can’t the collection of skills make the person even better as a whole?

I thought about that during one of my many visits with “…And as We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye,” the wondrous third record from German metallic machine Chapel of Disease. It’s impossible to put a label on the band because, as the intro suggests, they explore all kinds of extreme sounds and blend them all together in their brutal, yet fascinating music. The band has been at it for a decade now, initially arriving with an assault of tried-and-true death metal (their name is a blend of two Morbid Angel songs, after all) on their debut “Summoning Black Gods” before branching out their sound on “The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art,” as that was a jumping off point to where we are now. The band mixes death metal, black metal, psychedelics, traditional rock n roll, and so many other elements, creating a sound that has been morphing and likely isn’t close to its final destination. The band—vocalist/guitarist Laurent Teubl, guitarist Cedric Teubl, bassist Christian Krieger, and drummer David Dankert—follows a path not unlike Tribulation, though Chapel of Disease are heavier and deadlier, as they create a sound that might bring in more people than your average death metal record, but it’s still full of fire-breathing intensity.

“Void of Words” opens the record with a glorious riff before the band hits a full gallop, and fiery punishment is unleashed. Classic metal guitar licks charge, while the raw growls open wounds, great soloing smothers, and then atmospheric breezes cool off the scene. The band eases back into traditional metal push, with a long instrumental rush taking the track to a finish. “Oblivious – Obnoxious – Defiant” has riffs reigning, beastly growls, and a simple chorus where Laurent wails, “We are oblivious! Obnoxious! Defiant!” The guitars keep rolling, showing a rock n roll-style edge, while the music later explores its surroundings, as ferocious growls topple, and the song steamrolls. “Song of the Gods” has a cavernous start before the guitars trickle like a steady rain, and the power fully kicks in and gets the blood flowing. Riffs rampage hard over the chorus, as the music thunders, and everything bleeds out.

“Null” runs 9:21, the second-longest song on the record, and it has a riveting start with a storming pace, grinding growls over the rousing verses, and a bloody sense of melody. Some bluesy guitar work swaggers into the picture before the violence rips back into the song, and a sequence of mind-melting playing leaves your mind wandering. Everything heads into a dark vortex where great soloing emerges, melting your senses, as the track comes to a devastating end. “1,000 Different Paths” has a delicate start and turns into a very different type of song. It’s slow, moody, and even goth-like, especially with the deep clean singing. As we go, the guitars light up and burn brightly, once again bringing with it vintage tastes, continuing to sprawl and drizzle to the end. Closer “The Sound of Shallow Grey” is the longest track, running 9:49, and it wastes no time getting going, with vicious growls, a rupturing pace, and great leads, which should come as no surprise. Weird synth blends in and gives the song a cosmic edge, while the guitars keep stretching into new territory. The final minutes provide the final blasts of harsh growls, melodies that keep you off balance, and keys swirling in the air as you drift off into the unknown.

Chapel of Disease are a perfect exhibit toward proving one still can be a master, even if one’s skills are spread out all over the place. “…And as We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye” is one of the most intense, interesting metal records of the entire year, and the twists and turns that make up this journey will confound and punish you. This is an album that hopefully reaches a ton of new ears because, if it does, Chapel of Disease is bound to be one of those bands that outgrows its boundaries in very short order.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ChapelOfDisease

To buy the album, go here: https://vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.van-records.de/