Release Date: 20/11/2020
Following on from yesterday, let’s keep on the black metal trend going but throw in some thrash and death metal with ChronicleS and their debut demo ASTŌDĀN, which was independently released on October 20th.
ChronicleS hail from Dhaka, Bangladesh and have been around and kicking for about 5 years now. They play a raw and underproduced style of black/death/thrash metal that purists and fans of the raw underground sound will love. I say that this is their debut demo, which is true, but it’s not their debut release, having put out an EP last year titled Warmachine. The band is Jim, Billah, Shobdo, Kafi and Nihan.
Before I dive into the music itself, I would like to discuss the album’s theme, it’s a rather unusual one and one that I personally have always been fascinated with as an anthropology/history major. I’ll let the band explain to you, they informed me that, “this demo is influenced by ancient occult Zoroastrianism, which highlights the, practise of irreverence, inhumation and blasphemy. It pays homage to the ancient one, incorrigibility of Angra-mainyu and Druj-nasu. it looks at the ossuary to dafma darkest and iniquitous ritual rites. The earliest attestation of ancient cult, ASTŌDĀN encrusted with Zoroastrian ancient Iranian funerary rites, the temple cult of fire and darkest ritualistic existence.”
I’m sure that you will have plenty of questions after reading that due to the unique terms that you probably hadn’t heard prior to now. So the band asked that I explain a key term, which is the album title ASTŌDĀN, which means “bone-receptacle, ossuary” (Persian sotōdān), from ast- “oss, bone” and -dāna “container, receptacle.” The term has an important place in the vocabulary of ancient Iranian funerary rites. I will also take the time to mention that the artwork indicates the occultism of Angra-Mainyu, and the buried decomposition ritual at, dakhma (tower of silence).
Alright, that is enough of me nerding out and it’s about time we talked about the music. The demo comes in at 18 minutes even and features 5 tracks. The first thing I should mention about their music is that it will immediately divide listeners. It’s completely underproduced and unpolished. So you’ll immediately have those who will be put off by that and then you’ll have those like me who find that it actually suits their sound and style and gives it a certain level of authenticity and rawness. The opening track The Ritual of Druj-Nasu is a mood setting intro, featuring unsettling atmospheric guitar work, creaking and wind effects and muffled evil sounding vocals. It’s intended to give the effect of a demonic ritual or ceremony and achieves this pretty well.
Track 2 Supreme Ormizd Zoroastrianism is where the band’s signature sound and style come through. The track is a high energy offering, with death metal rhythms and black metal rawness. It’s got a very late 80s, early 90s feel to it. The vocals remind me of a Norwegian band that most people probably aren’t familiar with called Defect Designer i that they reach higher pitches an almost blow out at many points (in a way that I personally love).
Track 3 Angra-Mainyu still has some of those high energy segments, but we also get slower, more menacing and evil sounding parts. The vocals get extra raw in parts on this track too, we get some evil sounding screeches and shrieks. In my opinion this is a stronger song than track 2.
Track 4 is automatically killer, do you know why? Because it’s a cover of Hellhammer’s Messiah and Hellhammer happen to be one of my all-time favourite bands, even with their short lifespan and limited catalogue. That killer black/speed/thrash metal mix of the early 80s always brings a tear to my eye. I don’t need to deconstruct this track for you, hopefully you already know this song well.
Finally, we have Blasphemy Occultism to wrap the demo up. This starts out as a slower heavier track with classic menacing death metal riffs, but builds into a fast paced, aggressive assault. We close out the release with a punch to the gut and finish strong.
Overall, this is a solid black/death/thrash demo and makes me pretty excited to see what we will be getting from the band next. So, if you’re a fan of 80s black/thrash/speed or black/death metal with an OSDM sound then check this one out.
Listen to the full album below:
Also check out the band’s Youtube channel: