Sometimes it is critical to listen to full songs versus just snippets of songs when deciding to review something or ultimately purchase an album. “Paths to Exile” is one of those albums. Chaos Frame could stand to frame their chaos a bit more.
The album is a lot like dumping a jigsaw puzzle on the floor right out of the box. You have all the pieces but no idea what order they go in. For every really cool moment, either the chorus of the title track or the symphonic intro of “Derceto,” they are usually great by themselves but make little sense with what follows them. “Derceto” is followed by what seems like a random death vocal from guest vocalist Aaron Lott. It’s a great death vocal but I have no clue why it shows up where it does.
Often the vocal lines take such strange turns, my head cocks to the side like dog when you ask if they want to go outside. The band can definitely play and Dave Brown has a good voice, they just can’t seem to hold an idea long enough to make it work. Left turns in prog are fine but when they come from left field, that’s another story.
“Terra Firma” has a GREAT groove but the melody line that Brown sings goes so out of control at times, a note here and there, that it just falls short. This COULD be a great song. But it’s like they either are trying too hard or just like fucking with the listener. “Paper Sun” is another that feels like Pyramaze at times but it’s just a hair too fast.
Chaos Frame have the talent, they need a producer who can harness that talent and their incredible energy. Titles like “Painful Lessons” and “Doomed” are aptly named, because “Paths to Exile” feels like parts were glued together versus written together at once. Better transitions and elaborating certain sections would have saved this album for sure. I think there are plenty of people who prefer their music to be uber technical and insane, so this album does have an audience. It just doesn’t quite work for me.
1. Painful Lessons
2. Paths To Exile
4. Terra Firma
5. Paper Sun
8. The World Had Two Faces
Label: Nightmare Records