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Chrome Waves - "Chrome Waves" (CD/EP)

Chrome Waves - "Chrome Waves" CD/EP cover image

"Chrome Waves" track listing:

1. Hearts Over Feathers (2:06)
2. Height Of The Rifles (6:55)
3. Light Behind A Shadow (6:34)
4. Eyelids Of Dawn (2:46)
5. That Cursed Armored Train (4:51)
6. Blackbird (5:48)

Reviewed by on July 9, 2012

"Black metal with substance, this EP is the type of progressive content the genre needs to stay relevant."

When a band features current/former members of Nachmystium, The Gates Of Slumber, The Atlas Moth, and Twilight, that’s a stacked resume right there. Though the talent is not in doubt, the ability of the members to formulate song ideas that aren’t retreads of old ideas can turn into a hair-pulling task. Chrome Waves could have sunk into this cataclysm of which there is no escape, but instead come out with a stellar EP of atmospheric, melodic black metal.

This trio - vocalist Stavros Giannopoulos, guitarist Jeff Wilson, and bassist/drummer Bob Fouts - has put together a sound reminiscent of other bands, but also unlike any of them. People may hear some of their other projects on here, especially Twilight, but the self-titled EP is less jagged, opting for dynamics. It’s black metal on the surface, with the tremolo-picked riffs fueling instrumentals “Hearts Over Feathers” and “Eyelids Of Dawn,” but the band’s main appeal is stepping into spacey, open music spaces.

The only song that could be thought of as “traditional” is “Height Of The Rifles,” which maintains its pulsing momentum up to a suitable clean break with a Wolves In The Throne Room vibe (though compacted into half the time). Chrome Waves shows volume to their music with a deep cut into melodic grounds, like on “Blackbird.” On this closer, the shrieks from Giannopoulos take a back seat to Wilson’s playing. He pulls out a few stirring guitar parts, including a stimulating acoustic-led finish.

Having one-third of the EP dedicated to instrumentals may seem like an eye-raising choice, and as individual tracks, a case could be made against their usefulness. However, looking at the EP as a whole, these instrumentals benefit as building blocks for the songs that follow them. That is to the credit of Giannopoulos, Wilson, and Fouts, who take what they have learned as songwriters to craft these six songs.

Chrome Waves could be considered a “super-group,” if such a label is necessary. If this EP is any indication, Chrome Waves should be treated as a top priority for the members involved. It’s one of the best EPs of 2012, and it’ll be tough to top. The value is there too, as there’s certainly enough content here to be worth an LP tag. Black metal with substance, this EP is the type of progressive content the genre needs to stay relevant.

Highs: Always dynamic, black metal with some soul, songs never progress as expected

Lows: Some may look at the instrumentals in a negative light

Bottom line: A wonderful debut from this black metal group that is always engaging, and never redundant.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)