After suffering some initial knee-jerk disappointment over the fact that this is not a new album by the Canadian QUO VADIS but instead the seventh album by a Polish band with the same name, I decided that things can’t be that bad since this particular QUO VADIS is also listed as a Progressive Death Metal band, and hey, the Polish nation is renowned for it’s quality Death Metal acts.
Well, after about two songs into “Infernal Chaos” a whole new wave of disappointment washed over me. OK, maybe not all-out disappointment, but I certainly found myself rather bewildered by the Poles had cooked up here. ‘Musical Chaos” would’ve been a more apt title for this album because these eleven songs are quite frankly all over the place, with the band gleefully jumping back and forth between styles on each and every track and often even multiple times within any given song. This is clearly the end result of a recording session underpinned by a “let’s aim for the moon, so that even if me miss we’ll still land among the stars” mindset. Suffice to say, they achieved neither one of those.
From a purely technical standpoint the album is not too shabby, with proficient musicianship and more than a handful of truly catchy moments all wrapped up in a clear, punchy production. They clearly know how to play, but in terms of what they want play things are not so clear cut. If I had to name-check all the influences I detect throughout these songs we’d still be here next week, so let’s just say that “Infernal Chaos” is a hodgepodge mix of NEVERMORE, newer SLAYER, mid-era SEPULTURA, and ORPHANED LAND. On top of this the vocalist has a peculiar set of pipes to him, with his harsh delivery sounding a bit like Chris Boltendahl and the cleaner sections bringing to mind a non-growling Mikael Stanne. He does a fine job but the songs themselves are just a bit too disjointed to truly pull the listener in. There are a couple of annoying bouncy thrashy songs (“Caducus”, “Evil Dad”, “Russia”), with the latter completely ripping off the drum intro of “Rust In Peace” (the song), while also containing some cringe-worthy “daddy issues” lyrics that are woefully juvenile. Conversely, there are also some brilliant tracks on offer here like “Chaos” and “Bomb & Fire”, with the former kicking off with a furious NEVERMORE-style tech-groove before settling nicely into an exotic ORPHANED LAND-style section that sees the song through til the end, while the wild thrashing and pinch harmonies of the latter bringing to mind an unholy union between AURA NOIR and CANNIBAL CORPSE.
It is a diverse effort for sure; when they’re good they’re really good but when drop the ball things get ugly. As mentioned earlier, the riffs are generally quite catchy and everything is sufficiently tight, but there are numerous sections where the simplistic vocal patterns and the modern jumpiness of the thrashier parts put me off. If they had cut out some of the excess fat (approx. 50% of the material) this would have been a killer effort, but as it stands now “Infernal Chaos” is merely a decent effort, one that’s as ambitious as it is misguided.
(Online December 11, 2010)