Chasma - Omega Theorian [Candlelight Records - 2014]Chasma is a Portland, Oregon based black metal band with a slew of releases in the band’s six years of existence. Omega Theorian is the band’s third full-length and first to be released on Candlelight Records.
The band claims its influences include “spirit, energy, hidden dimension, and extradimensional warfare,” and these influences extend not only to the album art and song titles, but the music as well. The basis of the band’s sound is black metal (even though the band pretentiously lists its genre as “Noir Nouveau/Bright Metal”) but it contains a lot of post-black metal influence as well. The riffs are backed up by meaty, rumbling bass, but for all their depth they feel completely neutered of any strength due to them being essentially two or three chords. The inoffensive guitar tone certainly doesn’t help their lack of staying power. And to make matters worse, there’s very little diversity between songs. The songs blur together into two distinguishable parts: the black/post-black metal styled sections, full of tremolo riffs, shrieks and blast beats, and the slow, clean, introspective guitar parts. I assume the band is attempting to build up a trance like atmosphere with its constant repetition, but instead of creating what they set out to do; this repetition does nothing but draw attention to the fact that the band is extremely poor at creating decent riffs. I can count the number of times I thought “Hey, that was a cool riff,” on one finger.
The songwriting is, in theory at least, sound. The songs contain little sections of tremolo and blasts broken up by those slower sections. But these slow parts are entirely unnecessary. The little chunks of metal are often no longer than a minute, making these respites unneeded, especially given that these harsher sections are not very harsh at all. Additionally, the songs end seemingly arbitrarily. It’s as if the band went “Ok then. That’s two harsher sections and two or three softer ones. Onto the next song!” The production is acceptable, though leans a little too close to “polished” for my liking. The instrumental work is solid, if technically unimpressive due to how the songs are written.
If a poorly written, inoffensive album sounds like something you’d enjoy, then you should probably give Omega Theorian a look. If you’re interested in an album with good riffs, energy, and emotion, you’d better look elsewhere. This album is a yawn-fest for the entire 54 minutes. I understand that the goal of these Portlanders wasn’t to create insanely riffy, catchy music. What I don’t understand is why the band continues along this path when this style so clearly doesn’t work for them. Tyler L.