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Self-released (2013)
Rating: 8/10

Considered by many to be a melodic death metal act, Ireland’s Chosen are clearly more than that – combining nu-metal aesthetics with polished and at times technical deathcore – particularly in the vocal angst of Paul Shields who provides the often epileptic guitar grind alongside percussionist David McCann.

I have to admit to not being a fan of this sort of overtly modern style of metal, but thankfully there is enough going on here to keep me interested, the duo opting for a seemingly multi-layered experience that combines unusual experimentalism with crushing weight.

Album opener ‘Engines Of Belief’ is a prime example of the Chosen’s flexibility as they drift between a crisp and well-structured style of modern death metal fused with soaring melody, as Shields drifts between harsh bleats and ascending wails that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Slipknot record.

Elsewhere, the band come up trumps with the thrashing chug of ‘Defective Prospection’, a battering ram of a track injected by those almost calming vocals. My favourite track on the record is ‘The Narcissism Epidemic’, a sweeping, brooding mini-masterpiece that drifts by on acoustic guitar and haunting melody, evoking images of strange sadness and ice cold melancholy before being cut short abruptly by those punishing riffs and guttural rasps.

Chosen are certainly a band that is hard to pin down, so fluent are they in whatever styles they chose. There is clearly a Faith No More influence here, especially in those jarring chords and melodies which refuse to remain calm, the complexity at times hinting at the joyous, jazzed-up surrealism of Cynic, while the weight toils with mid-90s death metal (think Meshuggah and the like).

The band are clearly very talented musicians, masters at unpredictability and champions at discordant dynamics. Just check out the grating ‘Instinct’ with its barbed-wire drums and bone-jerking structures, and if you’re still not convinced by the devilry then dare yourself to dive into the pummeling realm of ‘Asch’s Paradigm’, possibly the most inviting track on the opus with those crystal clear vocal swoons.

Chosen are more than happy to wield together industrial-tinged metal with surreal soundscapes that are quickly erased by those juggernaut guitars. The last time I heard something akin to Chosen was the bizarre experience of Austria’s Korovakill and their 2001 Waterhells opus, and while Resolution is a more straightforward affair, these guys are clearly not afraid to dabble with the avant-garde.

Despite the crisp production and glimmering dynamics, this is still a mysterious affair that at once is able to grate on the soul while caressing it at the same time. I look forward to more from these ambitious Irishmen. Give me this over U2 any day!

Neil Arnold

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