Review: “Neanderthal Tales” EP by CHAKA

When it comes to the description on the label for an alcoholic beverage of choice, sometimes they can be pretty out there. But then not everyone has the same taste buds or sense of smell so they’re not all going to get the flavours that the so called experts who write the text get. That’s just a fact. Some people sip a whiskey for the flavour while others do a shot and then follow it up with a beer. When it comes to CHAKA, a solo side project of Mark Sokoll, bassist of Darkside NYC and Terminal Confusion, the back of their beer bottle would describe their as “Cro-Magnon Cave Metal mixed with hardcore Punk Rock elements, in the vein of old Celtic Frost, Venom, Cro-Mags and Black Sabbath“. Despite being a solo project, Sokoll isn’t a multi instrumentalist, he plays bass and handles vocals, so for the purposes of this EP,  Tydal Canon plays the guitar parts and created the cover art. Drum duties are split three ways with Jim Sullivan, Rick Beenders and Rich O’Brien appearing on different tracks while Seth Abelson handled both Mixing and Mastering.

Neanderthal Tales” is an interesting title because that is more about how Sokoll sees himself and the style of performance rather than that of the lyrical content, which is more like a Metal backed history lesson. Tales of Kamikaze pilot attacks, a history of weapons from the Dawn of Man until modernity, embracing evolution and hemispheres in conflict all appear as themes during the affair. The sludgy bass sounds of “Flak” give it a dirty raw sound that combines the sounds of Motorhead with Crowbar and Cro-Mags with to create a blood and thunder affair, with Sokoll playing the Cave Man throughout and is beer drinking good fun. The uptemo drive of the the track keeps the fires burning and the sonics are less primative than meets the eye (ear). Some funky guitar parts add a lighter note and that is kept in place during “The Battle Hath Begun” with Sokoll barking his vocals *ahem* straight from the Cave. A couple of neat tempo shifts move from a slower Doom laden sound to a Raw Hardcore Punk one with a fuzzy bass sound that is abrasive enough to be on a Black Metal album. “Anthroapology” is more of a dirge like rant that cuts a path through thick vegetation before “Defekt” offers an eerie whisper against the usual bark that gives a Jekyll and Hyde with some frantic sounds before cutting dead [7/10]

Track listing

1. Flak (2:43)
2. The Battle Hath Begun (3:28)
3. Anthroapology (2:32)
4. Defekt (1:19)

Neanderthal Tales” by CHAKA is out now and available over at bandcamp

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