Fall Of Stasis - The Chronophagist - (7.5/10)

Published on February 25, 2022

Tracklist:

  1. Wilted Forests
  2. Fall of Stasis
  3. Drunken Howl
  4. Baal Arise
  5. The Cult
  6. Twilight Carnival
  7. The Baron
  8. The Last Waltz
  9. Swarm of Casualties
  10. The Chronophagist

Genre:

Melodic Death / Folk

Label:

Independent

Playing Time:

49:26

Country:

Canada

Year:

2022

Website:

Visit page

The point gets hammered home in the press release for this debut album from Fall Of Stasis, yet even without stating it explicitly I would find it quite clear that the Canadian sextet aim to remain remote from any single genre and its conventions, instead seeking to blend all their influences into a new and unusual form. Or, you know, I could have looked at vocalist Jessica Dupré’s yellow boots and matching yellow hair and guessed that – despite sounding sometimes close to Finntroll, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and The Black Dahlia Murder (yes, all of them) – Fall Of Stasis don’t want to be like any of those bands. Musically, a great deal goes on across 50 minutes, as one tends to expect from 5 instrumentalists: the rhythm players straddle a gap between extreme and accessible, with the melodies and especially solos approaching technicality at times, yet the music also never veers away from appealing arrangements. All this means that The Chronophagist should have plenty of currency among a wide group of metal fans who approve of anything from melodic death to black metal in terms of heaviness and from prog to folk in terms of extra toppings.

 

 

I find myself liking more and more bands that sound familiar but concomitantly surprising, and Fall Of Stasis manage to secure a place in that category. Quite frequently while listening to this album I’m put in mind of the catchier tricks that Dagon and Alestorm employ, though these guys throw a ton of blastbeats and white-knuckle pace into a cut like “Twilight Carnival” alongside jaunty folk melodies and roared choruses that often feature a couple of singers at once. Coming off those charged passages into extremely catchy bits helps to maintain the energy at a surprisingly high level even during songs that exceed 6 minutes; firing off those slightly askew Children Of Bodom lead guitar lines further succeeds in keeping everything fresh when the song’s trajectory seemed already determined. This general technique is true of most songs on The Chronophagist; however, the range of tricks never relies on repetition, as the lurching polka of “The Baron”, the thunderous deathly assault of “Baal Arise”, and the shredding overload of the title track will show.

 

 

This rather maximalist approach exposes the band’s modern tendencies, which surface in the vocal choices more than anything else. A dense mixture of low and high-pitched screams dominate the verse and chorus sections of each song, not to mention rarer clean vocal passages – themselves quite various – and a guest appearance by Viky Boyer (ex-Karkaos) on “The Chronophagist”. The non-stop torrent of voices occasionally gives The Chronophagist the feel of having too much content, since the entire experience has been structured without many gaps between focal points. In itself, that doesn’t trouble me too much, seeing as Fall Of Stasis basically leave me with more to explore across the album, although anyone who cares for dynamics will begin to grow tired of the longer songs that stick to high intensity. For a more concrete example, the onrush of glory that makes up a large part of “Swarm of Casualties” bears more than a passing resemblance to Dragonforce, and is likely to affect listeners in the same manner as that divisive power metal force.

 

 

For all that I’m a little reluctant to say I love Fall Of Stasis’s first major effort, my opinion on the album mostly comes down to mood. Since The Chronophagist stays busy from playful opening instrumental “Wilted Forests” to its close, I can’t see myself putting this on for daily spins, but the hyperactive nature of “The Cult” could easily gain itself a spot on my “deadline” playlist, as could several other tracks. Therefore, despite not entirely winning me over with songwriting choices and structuring, Fall Of Stasis complete a successful display of force on their debut, one which benefits massively from Christian Donaldson’s supportive production and mix. More of a name to be treasured by those attracted to innovation within the modern paradigm than those actually seeking outright novelty, The Chronophagist nonetheless ought to steal a fair bit of your time, as the title accurately promises.

Author: Edmund Morton

Edmund is from Slough, England and has lived in Hefei, China since 2014. As the saying goes: where the head is, home is. His head is filled with heavy metal and wry thoughts.

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