Friday, April 27, 2012

Black Chalice - Submission (CTP - 005 - I)

Doom-laden death metal with heavy atmosphere and mournful melodies. This third release is the peak of Black Chalice's continuing progression into an ever more unique style which will surely be adored by anyone into the off-shades of both Doom metal and Death Metal. Inevitably, due to it's creator's involvement in other projects such as Auspicium, elements of black metal make themselves shown momentarily but this is primarily the affair of other styles.

CTP - 005 - I (QTY = 50 Copies) Sold Out
CTP - 005 - II (QTY = 105 Copies) AVAILABLE $6.00


12/01/2013 Aristocrazia Webzine

Black Chalice, a young one man band led by Patrick A. Hasson, comes to us from Portland, Maine. The creativity of the multi-instrumentalist is in constant turmoil, as proven by the three demos and the full-lenght that have been released in the two years since the foundation of the band. This review deals with the latest demo, "Submission", originally self-released in digital form only. Later, Contaminated Tones Productions has also released a first edition in tape — limited to fifty copies and now sold out — and a reissue — again in tape — limited to one hundred and five copies and containing a previously unreleased track.

The opener — "Deluge" — is a four minutes long intro made up of caressing and beautiful clean melodies, a small appetizer that sets the stage for the entrance of "Regret" and "Cornea". The sound recreates oppressive and melancholic images of desolation, that stand between desperate atmospheres and layers of guitars, mainly inspired to the Death/Doom from the early nineties. A mushy and cavernous growl serves as a counterpoint for the funereal and distressing melodies, expressing all the existential despair that flows inside Black Chalice. The feelings conveyed are dark, contrite and filled with a neverending "mal de vivre".
"Submission" and "Wain" (the unreleased song), on the other hand, contain mostly delicate and graceful movements, also enhanced by the touching and evocative Hasson's clean vocals. We may see short glimmers of light, but there's no hope at all in Black Chalice's universe: these soft rays of light are in fact overwhelmed by a gloomy blanket that swamps us completely, a blanket made of slow, heavy and sprawling Doom litanies.
The fantastic weaves laid out with the excellent guitar work should be mentioned; the guitars manage to produce a very balanced mix of both melancolic melodies and very rough riffs. The structure of the songs is not particularly varied, but they possess a strong empathic ability, and the tormented visions they evoke will definitely leave their mark on you.
"Submission" is a genuine, vibrant, black and disillusioned work: a release that can surely arouse interest among the fans of Death-Doom. Welcome to Black Chalice's dark world!

09/11/2013 From The Dust Returned

I'm often at a loss as to what constitutes a demo recording or an 'official' album, especially in the metal underground, where the latter can often prove just as important or substantial as the former. In the case of the Submission demo by Black Chalice, it probably has something to do with the studio process and the original intentions for the material. This is actually a considerably longer work than the Obsidian album I covered, and recorded the year before. Strangely enough, it offers some of the added variation I felt could have strengthened that work, but at the same time it's a little less consistent overall, and there were a few points at which I felt myself nodding out. I guess this better deserves the brand of 'death/doom' than Obsidian, because the growls here reign supreme, and it definitely possesses a more mournful, crushing, funeral pall, but texturally I also felt it a little dryer, less saturated with the imagination of that album.

Submission opens with a four-minute instrumental constructed from clean, sad, scintillating guitars that eventually builds into a union of chords and single picked melodies, and then beyond that comes the really heavy stuff. There's still a combination of drudging, filthy chords and melodies, but the former feel a little more gratingly tuned, and the latter seem slightly less tethered to the bottom line. The drums are really underwhelming here, faint beats that barely support the huge, ugly riffs canvased above them, though they pick up steam in the bridge of "Regret" when they start hammering away. The guttural vocals take on a maudlin, almost monotonous drift as they would in many recordings of this field, and they don't really distinguish themselves as being particularly weighted or brutal. "Submission" itself features more clean guitars, and some of the submissive, clean vocals that are commonplace on Obsidian, but it also has a pretty weak transition and then picks up into what is basically an admixture of driving, older Katatonia-style guitars. I found "Cornea" more to my liking, though the rhythm guitar distortion seems to clip a little and nearly bust out of its own recording.

The last track, "Wain" seems to come from a separate recording session and has a more repressed quality about it. Melodic vocals, groovier riffs and a bass-heavy, Sabbath like substance to some of the riffing in the bridge. Perhaps an attempt to make inroads to a more antiquated style of doom metal, but it does seem a little out of place with the rest of the material, and sloppily constructed so that the riffs don't exactly flow into one another in a meaningful way. That said, I actually did enjoy the project of Patrick using his clean vocal style over this more psychedelic riffing aesthetic, I only wish he were louder. Lyric-wise, Submission was quite good as the other Black Chalice material, especially the song "Regret" where I really enjoyed the closing line: When will we be sorry? We will be sorry. Still very personal and deep, wrist-cutting and depressing, but perhaps a bit more image-laden. Ultimately, I think this was a work borne of experimental intentions more so than Obsidian, but some of the songs drudge on a little much without many ideas of note, and "Wain" just didn't fit for me. Not without a few moments, but I simply felt more rewarded by the experience of Obsidian.

01/17/2012 Sorrow Eternal Blog

A small unknown band from the U.S. has recently released a new album for the new year. The band goes by the name Black Chalice and their album is called “Submission.“ It contains four lengthy tracks and has a raw recording sound. The quality takes away from music as it‘s clear that they weren‘t purposely going for the low quality recording. As far as the genre goes, the band is clearly going for that progressive doom type of sound however they kind of go about it the wrong way. Certain parts of each song are a little too repetitive and don’t really change up too often.

The album opens with the song “Deluge” which is a four and a half minute intro that contains multiple guitars with gorgeous strings of melodies that flow together perfectly. You don’t really hear the first few riffs until about a minute in as they fade in as slow as possible. More and more layers of soothing guitars enter little by little as they give off an ambient sound. As the guitars continue to build, after hitting their peak, they quickly drop as you meet the next track. “Regret” comes in with basic drum patterns in a slow moving tempo as a calm guitar riff takes over on top. This melody kind of drags out as nothing changes until about two minutes into the song. This is when relentless guitars come roaring in with fast chugging riffs and loud snares snapping in the background. You will also run into a demon of a growl as the vocals finally reveal themselves. Large heaving lyrics rumble under the guitars shaking you violently. After the verse is done, the guitars go on a rampage of more reckless chugging as double bass pedals start to pick up the tempo. This is where you’ll want to start bobbing your head. The only issue with this track is that some of the guitar riffs are a little too repetitive. The song is over eight minutes long and half of it carries the same couple of chords over and over again. This might make some listeners want to skip on to the next track. Perhaps a little more creativity in this song structure would do the trick.

The third track on the album, “Cornea,” starts out with static guitar riffs that give off a strong depressive vibe. This repeats for about a minute and a half. Unfortunately, that’s over a minute too long. Finally the drums enter with a slow tempo as chords continue to be slammed in the background. The vocals fade in with deep demonic growls delivered with aggression. The starts to pick up speed about five minutes in as the guitar chugging becomes constant and the drums rolls start to explode. But right as the song starts to progress you start to realize again that they are just gonna continue to play this same riff over and over again. The drum pattern may occasionally change but that’s about it. The song has got so much potential as you’ll find tons of energy in the last few minutes. The only issue is that nothing changes. The melody, the instruments, and the tempo all kind of just stay the same.

The final track, “In Submission,” is an 11 minute track that starts out with a soothing guitar melody that has the same issue of being played way too many times in a row with absolutely no change what so ever. The one interesting thing about this track is that the vocals change up as you hear a soft clear voice enter with depressive lyrics. It’s nice to hear something a little different than the other tracks. Unfortunately this is the only difference. About half way through the song enters a specific guitar riff in which they decide to play for the rest of the song. Feel free to turn off the album because at this point the riff that you’re hearing just plays all the way through. So save yourself some time and move on to another album.

“Submission” has got a lot of ups and downs throughout each track. There are times you can really start to get into it and want to bob your head to the beat, however there are other times where you just want to skip to the next track because of how bored you’ve become with the same repetitive riff. The eight and ten minute long songs would be a lot better if they were trimmed down by four or five minute. Besides the opening track, the rest of the album turns into a let down with its constant repeats of basic guitar riffs. Black Chalice definitely needs to add some creativity to their music if that want to separate themselves from other bands.

02/09/2012 Desolation - Infinite Blog

Hailing from the northeastern part of the United States, this one man doom/death hybrid metal band has been getting the attention of underground fans in the genre.  Black Chalice, hailing from Maine, started out as a raw death metal band, look for Prayers of Our Lord and Saviors, and then progressed their sound into a more doom/death sound as they went through the album Years of Flame.  Now in 2012, with the new album Submission, Black Chalice continues to impress with musical talent and wondrous compositions into the doom realm at even a greater height than before.

Submission embraces us with four alluring doom/death tracks.  First thing I have to mention is the raw production. I read other little reviews of the band floating around and some discredited them because of the raw production over shadowing the instruments, I laughed. In fact, I believe that the raw production adds even more atmosphere to the music, well at least on this album and the previous. Now, first comes Deluge which is a nice clean guitar and ambient instrumental luring us in on what we are about to hear. It's not until the second track, Regret, where the productions comes into play along with nice doomy riffs and mid paced tempos. One of the things that will capture you on this album in general are the upmost guitar melodics found throughout.  While Regret can get a bit repetitive maybe to some because of its length, the melodics just suck you in a void of lunacy. 

Next comes in the more funeral-esque track, Cornea.  Again exemplifying mournful riffs, this track carries the ears on a path full of sorrow and death while indulging your thoughts in a murky cloud of bleak emotions.  While the track might start at a slow constant, it does speed up as it carries on, especially as it grows towards the end where melodics once again somber in with the music.  Finally the last track, the title track, Submission, fades in with melancholic clean guitar strums and gloomy clean vocals.  I really wasn't expecting that but it surely was nice change from all the distortion taken in.  After that, a solo bass strum takes control on what is about to be awaken. The Beast of Doom.  Traditional, signature doomy riffs take toll which pretty much carry the song to its finale. It gets even better as the sound is blessed with an array of beautiful atmosphere to accompany it on its way out.  Wow, lots of head banging there.  

Certainly after listening to Submission, it makes me want to go back to my doom days.  I use to be an avid fan of the genre for a while but I just lost touch somewhere as bands were getting too stagnant. Black Chalice has reminded me while I loved the genre so much. All in all, Submission delivers for the fans of the underground extreme metal genre. While a bit repetitive at times as I stated before, the melodics during that period make up for it.  If you like doom/death metal with nice melodics or looking to recapture some of the finer moments in the doom genre, then this album is for you.      

Both Submission and the previous album, Years of Flame, are available for free download at the Black Chalice page.  Go check them out and spread the word!

02/20/2012 Grave Dig Blog

Black Chalice has been one of the talking points in the underground scene since the latest offering Submission surfaced where there is a transition in the sound from raw death metal demo Prayers For Our Lord and Savior through more doom/death approach in Years Of Flame. While still not shredding the roughness fully where Submission stands out on its own is that the songs burden more emotions stabbing into doom territory. There are more melodious sections accompanied by harmonic notes but not straying a bit from creating mournful atmosphere. The evolution was inevitable as the man behind Black Chalice, Patrick Hasson from Maine, has passion for both doom and death and the influence just found its way into the music. When I asked him about the inspirations behind Submission, he quoted, "Submission is as it says, a story about submitting. All the different meanings and inflections that can be used with it, whether it be positive or negative. The songs all represent an aspect of it." 

06/18/2012 Metal Archives - Rotting_Christ_Mike

Taking advantage of the physical release of this demo, I gave Black Chalice a shot; I can safely say that I am not disappointed. What we have have here is quality material from a promising project.

The music here does not move exclusively at slow paces to bring forward the feeling of doom, but also makes use of beautiful melodies to achieve a sad and mournful atmosphere. The guitars play the lead role here, and that is good news because in songs like 'Regret' the repetitive and sorrowful guitar melodies are what make the whole thing worthwhile. The drumming is what you'd expect it to be, following the guitar playing when it comes to the speed variations. The sound is thick and muddy, so I can't comment on the bass since I can't hear it, but I can tell you that this does not affect the music; the absence of the bass does not affect the listening experience and you won't miss it. The vocals are somewhat buried underneath everything sometimes, especially at the more guitar-driven pieces like the aforementioned 'Regret' while in slower ones like 'Cornea' they come to the forefront slightly above the guitar. The vocals themselves are a deep growl which sounds a bit raspy at moments and is exactly what is needed in the music. I find that the vocals are definitely not the main focus of the music though, and they are just accompanying it because my ears are mainly focused on the excellently executed melodies but during the slower parts when the vocals are more prominent they become more noticeable.

This is a well-balanced release, combining both slow death/doom and faster melodic passages which still retain the depressive feeling of the whole release. The changes are not abrupt so everything will sound natural to your ears and won't confuse you like abrupt changes tend to do. The music is very good and the melodies are actually memorable with 'Regret' being stuck into my head for days. There is enough variation to keep you interested, but when nothing changes the music does not become boring but rather feels droning and sucks you in its repetitiveness. My favorite aspects of the demo are the guitar playing and the way in which the music as a whole actually achieves the purpose of
atmospheric death/doom and really creates an atmosphere rather than bore you to death. This band is deserving of their atmospheric tag. The muddy sound results in a crushing force.

Having not listened to the previous demos of the band, I can say that the 30 or so minutes of music contained in this release were enough to grab me and I will be following the project's future plans. It certainly sounds interesting and I can't wait to see what the future will bring. Give this a listen!

07/01/2012 Metal Archives - Zodijackyl

Haunting clean guitars introduce Black Chalice over four minutes where atmosphere builds, inevitably leading to lo-fi doom where a dark atmosphere looms over the plodding march of the rhythm guitars. A contrast is built between distant, ethereal leads and dominant rhythms that sound like they are rising from a cave. A drum machine punches away in the background, a distant rhythm below the cavernous sound of the guitars. The rhythm guitars sound massive, with the lead/melodies cutting through when they appear, but the vocals staying low and the drums being nearly doomed from audibility.

The elements at work here seem to be a reversal of a lot of doom these days - while doom metal bands of this day often rely heavily on a great tone and weak riffs, Black Chalice is the other way around - good songwriting and good riffs, but weak production that leaves something to be desired. The desire is strong, because the music sounds great through much of the demo. The sound is suitable for the first half, but five minutes into the third song, there is an exceptional movement where a melodic guitar lead takes control of the music, and while it's a great part, I know that this section could sound so much better if it did not sound like it was recorded in an underwater cave. I really like the music and the production doesn't detract from it most of the time, but the pinnacle of half an hour of exceptional music feels buried, rather than pronounced and displayed in its best form. It's a demo, and I would love to hear the same music captured more effectively, with the great amps and recording that so many doom bands couldn't use as well as Black Chalice could.

The songwriting is simple, but very effective. Without looking at the clock, I wouldn't know that an exceptional section repeated for well over two minutes, but it is a testament to the strength of the songwriting that one riff could be repeated for that long and when it ended, I only wanted to hear it again. The third and fourth tracks both do this, where a very simple rhythm plods along while a simple melody intertwines with it on another guitar. In other music, a melody can often lead a song over a very short timespan, but rarely can a song be led by a part like this, long enough that it tops the duration of some songs.

Simple riffs and arrangements emphasize a crushing sound and excellent doom metal atmosphere. The songwriting is efficient - every riff is worth it - never a dull moment, only a few moments where the riffs deserve massive production that I can't really expect from a demo, though the sound is as strong as many pro releases with similar styles. It's a good listen and the only downside of the demo is that it's good enough that it shows more potential than a demo could capture. Check this out and watch the band in the future.

12/07/2012 - Goul's Crypt Blog

Black Chalice. The name reeks of dying, depression and burdening, imposing matters. Black Chalice is the name belonging to an American one-man black/death/doom metal band, a band that I have been acquainted with for some time now.

With Submission Black Chalice are trying out a new approach with the album intro "Deluge", which features something very atypical for the band. Normally it's straight on and forward with chaotic, gritty guitars groaning under the stress of the player's hand, but Deluge is all about flowing acoustic guitars, thusly building an atmosphere not nearly as raw as on the prior demo material of Black Chalice. While the sound of Black Chalice hasn't changed much Hasson's approach to songwriting has changed a lot since the beginning back in 2011. On Submission he favours more melodic riffs and dredging speeds rather than the fast, unvaried drum-powered tremolo-riffs on the early demos. A change that I for one am happy to hear as it provides the music with a whole new level of detail to peak the listener's interest.

In context with the acoustic intro the last song on the demo, Submission, also starts out with simple acoustic playing that puts you into a false sense of comfort until it slowly fades into the raw guitar-dominated soundscape that I've come to link with Black Chalice. A thing that especially struck me on Submission is the accustomed use of layers that wasn't present on the earlier material. This is evident in all the tracks but in my eyes works best on the track Regret where weeping guitars provide a nice contrast to the groaning and coarse string-play of Patrick Hasson. Another thing that makes Submission stand out compared to Hasson's earlier releases is that the drums and rhythm section in general have been severely downplayed; Where monotonous drumming dominated the early demos, drowning out most of the other parts of the music, on this demo it's much easier to hear the details in Black Chalice's music.

The music of Black Chalice could always be best described as "discordant" and "rough around the edges", and while the previous releases also seemed rather unrefined the same things go for Submission. But Hasson has found a more suiting focus for the band which makes the album a much more interesting and welcome experience than Years of Flame and Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour. Though all the releases are very organic in their sound and composition Submission is by far the least mechanical-sounding, and even though Hasson's chosen style of black- and death-infused doom metal mostly focusses on depressive themes and desolate soundscapes he has still found room for epic compositions and gloriously melodic parts. 

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