Review: “Order & Chaos” by Karybdis

Over time change is inevitable as musicians get older and other commitments or situations arise which mean their presence in a band is something they can no longer commit the time required to do things justice. Many a heated debate has happened between fans as to whether a band remains the same band if a key member departs; usually the sore one is the vocalist as the most instantly recognisable face at the helm. Ultimately whether the band in question continues is up to those who remain in the fold and only time tells whether their decision in a line up change is the correct one. In the case of London powerhouse Karybdis, after a trio of albums since their 2009 inception that fuse together elements of Death and Groove Metal with Hardcore influences, their future after the departure of long time guitarist Matthew Lowry saw them turn to someone they know in long time collaborator Dave Klussmann (Deities, Nervewrecker) to join their ranks, something which is always the simplest option…

…So with that decision made, together they conceived a concept EP based around Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’ suite after watching ‘The Planets in Concert‘ with Brian Cox, the idea of re-imaging themes in classical music into their own tried and trusted style with symphonic flare something that appealed in terms of challenge to the collective. As new guitarist Dave Klussmann has a rich vein of production experience having previously worked with bands like Oceano, Enterprise Earth and Chiasmata, it was only natural he would take the wheel for “Order & Chaos” at Lightship 95 Studios. No less than five guests joined them to provide bass, cello, soprano, trumpet, trombone and tuba for the record with drummer Mitch McGugan showing his multi instrumental prowess and also playing Tenor, Violin and Viola while handing composition of the orchestration…

…Rather than taking over, those orchestrations serve to embellish “Order & Chaos” with something unique and perhaps less symphonic than you might expect; it’s refreshing that those elements aren’t programmed because that gives the EP a more natural and rounded finish, something that is apparent from the very start of opening brute “Kronos“. At its heart is a Modern Melodic Death Metal cut with influences of Black and Groove Metal lurking in the background; vocalist Rich O’Donnell pushes himself into hitherto unheard territories, to introduce some melodic undertones and the opening cut sounds Lamb Of God playing a Dimmu Borgir cover. “The Moirai” then continues to pull at the same thread with blast beats and some shriller vocal moments but the melodic mid track section that builds into a soaring classic Metal solo is nothing short of stunning before the savage transition out which is pure blood and thunder. Everything has a sense of epic grandeur to it, while still being as heavy as ever and the balance struck is perfect, like it’s balanced on the edge of a knife. The sumptuous leads of “Maya Valles” intertwine with those classical elements and demonstrate that Klussmann has what it takes to drive this band forward, one riff at a time, as good a replacement for Lowry as any fan could have hoped, while the glorious instrumental title track combines the sombre with the soaring as it serves as an introduction to the spine shattering finale of “Tartarus“. Klussmann brings a wealth of technical riffs that border on the progressive and with those orchestrations creating alchemy alongside O’Donnell’s well thought out lyrics and vocal prowess, the result is something truly special that builds on the ideas of the bands previous work “In the Shadow Of Paradise” as its foundation of bones [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Kronos
2. The Moirai
3. Maya Valles
4. Order & Chaos
5. Tartarus

Order & Chaos” by Karybdis is out now and available over at bandcamp

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