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Pale Chalice - "Afflicting The Dichotomy Of Trepid Creation" (CD/EP)

Pale Chalice - "Afflicting The Dichotomy Of Trepid Creation" CD/EP cover image

"Afflicting The Dichotomy Of Trepid Creation" track listing:

1. Transplant Of Dimensional Recourse (6:13)
2. Command of the Formless (8:36)
3. Caressed by a Feeble Flame (5:35)
4. Ascend the Idyllic Sphere (8:57)

Reviewed by on February 28, 2011

"Four lengthy songs of moody black metal don’t reinvent the wheel, but accomplish what any good EP should: glimpse into the potential and expose the weak points."

Pale Chalice is the shadow cast over sunny California; the nightmare in a dream state; the poison in a dart aimed at the heart of good-natured beings. After two years together, “Afflicting The Dichotomy Of Trepid Creation” is the first collection of material from the band to be released to the masses. Four lengthy songs of moody black metal don’t reinvent the wheel, but accomplish what any good EP should: glimpse into the potential and expose the weak points.

The band shows the most promise submerged in atmospheric scales, where melody skims along the surface. “Command Of The Formless” strays away from the heavy tremolo riffing of “Transplant Of Dimensional Recourse” and focuses on intensity over noisy blasting. There’s even what many will consider a “catchy” riff progression about three minutes in. At over eight minutes long, the track doesn’t maintain an appropriate pace for that stretch of time.

Closer “Ascend The Idyllic Sphere,” on the other hand, is a marvelous little number justified in its use of nine minutes. The pitchy shrieks can be jarring on the ears, but the gripping lead work in the last half gives way to a stripped-down acoustic outro. It’s the first sign of creativity boiling underneath the conventional black metal traits. The band does a fine job with the standard heavy-fisted drums and static guitars, but those things have been done to death in the genre. The melodic quirks do the most effective job on “Afflicting The Dichotomy Of Trepid Creation.”

The two other tracks are decent, if unimpressive in stature. They both hover between five and six minutes, and tend to be fast and loose from the starting gate. They're nothing to be impressed with, and more traditional in a sense than the other two tracks. The one thing that may be of interest to astute listeners is the complicated lyrics. The message is never made clear, as deep mental unease and the harsh realities of formless space are the general themes. It’s usually the music that creates textures, but in the case of this EP, the lyrics have their own that clashes with the impenetrable wall of dissonance.

Those who praise the dark lords of black metal and are looking for something new may find Pale Chalice’s “Afflicting The Dichotomy Of Trepid Creation” a venture to dive into. At almost thirty minutes, it is close to being considered an LP. For an EP, the production is satisfactory and the songs have moments of glory. The flaws are not hard to find, but those can be tweaked and pulled apart before a full-length is written.

Highs: Highly-atmospheric black metal, 'Ascend The Idyllic Sphere" is a winner, strong production for an EP

Lows: Songs are too lengthy, a few songwriting quirks, pitchy shrieks can be distracting

Bottom line: A quaint EP that shows potential for this black metal quintet from California.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)