Long-time Bay Area Thrashers KAOS return with a new album "Kaos Among Us". Hailing from the early days of old school Thrash Metal, these guys literally cut their teeth alongside some of Thrash's greatest legends such as DEATH ANGEL and TESTAMENT back in the late 80's and early 90's. Riot police, anyone??
Having never been properly exposed to any of the bands earlier material, I was amazed on how much the Bay Area scene has helped cultivate their current sound - which pretty well runs the gamut of Thrash trademarks (as well as tired clichés, unfortunately).
KAOS sound talented, professional, and dedicated to the cause, but seem to have an identity crisis...the crisis being that they have no identity of their own. They appear to be so busy emulating their heroes (with fierce and deft accuracy, mind you!) that they have lost touch with any sense of individualism their music may have had. At times I think I am listening to a combination of DEATH ANGEL, SLAYER, topped off with some VIO-LENCE for added flavour. Not that it's a bad thing, but…a schizophrenic Thrash/Hardcore dual-personality is at work here, and the results, albeit well executed, just don't convey the necessary elements of originality and creativity needed to set them apart from the pack.
The stand-out track on this 3-song sampler is without a doubt the mid-paced stomper "Paralyzed By Fear", based solely on the multi-faceted vocal performance of Jason Darnell, and the simple yet "heavy-as-all-fuck" nature of the track - I bet it's a show-stopper and a head-crusher when played live!
I'd like to hear the rest of the album, just to see if there is anything to redeem the band from opting to use the terribly annoying gang-style vocals on "Descent Into Madness". BIOHAZARD does them on almost every one of their albums, and even when they do it, it's just plain awful. Again, duplicating another group's established custom just simply drags the band down…And even the song titles are overused platitudes.
KAOS have a brilliant and kick-ass Metal album brewing somewhere deep within them, if only they can shed the tired axioms of their Metal influences and concentrate on expressing their creativity and inventiveness without betraying their loyal Thrash-sensibilities.
Keep Yer Metal Heavy! (Online July 12, 2003)
Guest Reviewer Terry Demeter