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Chaos From A Distance

Mighty Music (2017)
Rating: 8/10

Having fallen for this bunch of Swedish metallers back in the 80s with their 1984 Bringer Of Evil opus, I’ve always admired their ability to have survived ever since as a formidable pack of hungry metal hounds. Chaos From A Distance is the sixth album from the quartet and fans will be pleased that it is another heavy slab of metal bringing with it bucket-loads of melody and attitude.

It’s been four years since their last outing (2013’s Evil Redux) and I’m pleased to say that this keeps up that high level of power and passion. Oddly, I now compare such stalwarts to Saxon, as they’ve marched on through the decades and somehow become increasingly heavier by each release.

Chaos From A Distance brings in 13 tracks and runs a fraction short of an hour, so you’re certainly getting your money’s worth with this one. It begins with the juddering ‘God Of War’; a menacing lump of volatile metal suggesting a band that in its stubbornness has created a huge stone, impenetrable wall around its heart.

Rimbert Vahlström’s vocals have always been top-notch, straight-down-the-line booms that rarely stray from their trajectory – only occasionally drifting with the melodies of Anders Hahne’s guitar shudder. But this is extremely ballsy metal; catchy in its construction but ultimately in-your-face and seemingly timeless.

Mats Bergentz’s drums echo the thunder of war as the band drags us through its tirade which culminates almost an hour later with closer ‘Sleepwalking’. But in-between we get hammered by ‘Crucified’ with its chugging melody, then pulverised by the title track which hits like a juggernaut before delivering a killer melody, and then drowned in the slower presence of ‘Trial By Spirit’.

Chaos From A Distance is one of those albums that just can’t deliver any filler; it’s built like the most fearsome warrior where each track is represented by a weighty limb of flexing muscle – its dark heart pumped by the brooding ‘Shape Of God’, and then ‘I Don’t Wanna See You Die’ with its robust thuds and energy.

However, as showcased with the aforementioned title track, this beast isn’t just about belligerence and so it may come as some surprise then to hear the harmonious climes of ‘Saints On Fire’ with, dare I say it, an AOR injection. But for those of you with panic in mind, do not fear because weight is restored with ‘Master Of Overkill’ and the molten ‘Sleepwalking’.

I know that Syron Vanes can be accused of churning out records all too infrequently, but with Chaos From A Distance they’ve created an aural assault that should keep us going until the next fist to the face comes.

Neil Arnold

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