Much like their Italian peers in Destrage, Rome’s Element of Chaos is quirky as hell and completely unafraid to shift genres at the drop of a hat, all while maintaining a constant heavy edge. Though the band formed in 2007, they’ve flown under my radar until the band just released A New Dawn, an impressive and interesting take on prog-metal, metalcore, and even full-on video game music thanks to the album’s absurdly bombastic keyboard performances. The bulk of their sound is rooted in the chuggy riffing that’s come to be synonymous with so many modern prog bands, but there are also plenty of moments that harken to new-age Between the Buried and Me and Mr. Bungle as well, particularly one of the album’s most interesting and visceral moments, “Mutant Circus Manifesto.” With plenty of unbridled fury and cyclonic keyboard work that’d make bands like Last Chance to Reason and HORSE the Band nod their heads in approval, this is definitely some new metal to keep your eyes on.
This band certainly knows how to pack in loads of musical variety, plenty of technical acumen and lots of different vocal ideas throughout the entirety of A New Dawn. Strangely enough, the band feels the most convincing when they’re at their outright strangest, particularly vocally. While the production on the drums leaves a bit to be desired during the punchier sections on the album and the screams probably could have been taken down in a mix, considering the band’s modest means this is an extremely professional-sounding and well-balanced production job that gives ample credit to each member of the band.
If you’re looking for a good way to get an understanding for what Element of Chaos is all about, the band’s music video for “The Second Dawn of Hiroshima.” Though this track is admittedly less musically exciting than many other tracks on the record, it summarizes the band’s off-kilter aesthetic and love of all things breakdowny quite well. Once you’ve paired that with the Sikth-esque chorus that gets repeated all to hell, you’ve got a fairly decent teaser of what to expect for the remaining nine tracks; loads of hooks, silly keyboards and plenty of headbanging grooves riffs to scratch your head over for months to come. Not to be missed if you’ve found 2016 a bit lacking in the prog-metal department. A New Dawn will be dropping in its entirety in just a few more weeks, so make sure that this is on your radar!