Impressionistic appraisal: The Chasm’s Deathcult For Eternity…The Triumph (1998)
The Chasm raised a new style on the death metal firmament. Sorrowful like a cortege, but not wallowing in self-pity like early 90s Euro-doom, The Chasm‘s melancholy is cosmic yet existential, hopelessly idealistic, and therefore, by conjunction, prone to the bouts of impotent fury that plague us all in an illogical world.
Analysis: The Chasm’s Deathcult For Eternity…The Triumph (1998)
For many fans of death metal, Daniel Corchado and the year 1998 are synonymous with the release of Incantation‘s last essential album Diabolical Conquest. Occluded by the sheer weight of that album, however, also lies the sublime Deathcult For Eternity…The Triumph, perhaps the first critical entry in The Chasm‘s unbroken string of artistically, and ideologically, rich contributions to the genre. Whatever one thinks of their sound as a whole, there can be scant doubt that The Chasm have remained the preeminent band for all metalheads to model their genre philosophies on. Their integrity to the music and to themselves is above reproach; in fact, if the fan of this music can be said to have truly found himself, then I believe I’m not amiss in stating that The Chasm are, indeed, us.
What is that Chasm sound, though? Casual listens are sure to draw references to the melodically nuanced Germanic speed metal of early Destruction, along with assorted Slayerisms, but The Chasm‘s style is progressive, developmentally incremental, and composed in the real sense of the word. The Chasm use the arpeggio as a tool of dual purpose: as an introductory motif for any given passage, and also as a way of encompassing successive octaves on the guitar neck. The latter is the foremost reason for the expansive feel unique to this music; by routinely employing minor, suspended, inverted, and broken chord formations for creating tension, often by deliberately lingering on that point of tension, then following through with appropriate response and closure, The Chasm provide a predominantly consonant study of pitches and intervals on a panoramic level not frequently accessed by the genre. That they do this in a non-gratuitous, extension-of-self manner endows this music with a rare and prized sincerity.
Impressionistic appraisal: Sentenced’s North From Here (1993)
Part Atheist, part At The Gates, and the rest icy North. Technically adroit like the former, compositionally aspiring to the heights scaled by the latter, Sentenced on North From Here created an elegant representation of melody in death metal, far removed from the hard rock that they would begin playing hereafter.
Analysis: Sentenced’s North From Here (1993)
Nearly everything Sentenced do can be laid squarely at the feet of Piece Of Time and The Red In The Sky Is Ours. That may seem like an indictment, especially because Sentenced don’t quite achieve the cohesion of either album, but it is also the fairest assessment one can make of North From Here. The extent of this tribute ranges from embracing idiosyncrasies of phrasing to quite blatantly modeling individual melodies and song structures after the nature of the elder albums.
And yet, studied an impersonator though it may be at its core, North From Here still is an original album in its own right. This may be because Sentenced are adept at combining populist, heavy metal tendencies with their loftier ambitions. The outcome is a music big on ideas, but also carrying a surplus of spirit in the tradition of the best heavy metal.
Deathcult For Eternity may be less daunting than its rival on the level of sheer turnover of riffs, but in its defense presents a superior example of theme and narrative development. Sentenced seem frequently overwhelmed with the newly-fangled technomelodic prowess at their disposal; The Chasm‘s very oeuvre, however, is based on slow-burning stoicism and a view of the long term.
The Chasm go through.