I remember getting demos from Boston based band Chronologist a few years back and I was very impressed with what I heard. So when I was contacted to review their first full length album “Cartographer,” I was excited. Since then the band has either relocated to Austin, TX or just has members on two locations.
Musically, the band do things I like and unfortunately they do other things that I really don’t like. They sound like Scale the Summit embracing djent/metalcore. That’s a bit of a simplifying of things but it’s not far from that. While I like djent bands at times, there’s a line that gets crossed at times and when it does, they sound like shit. The intro track “A.W.H.I.T.” is an example. The guitars are downtuned and it sounds too basic and dumbed down.
The band do that here and there throughout the album along with that really loud bass sound that you find during metalcore/deathcore breakdowns. Never liked that, still don’t. It’s a shame because when Chronologist stick to playing melodic lines and the guitars interweave, it sounds GREAT. “San Juan” is an example of them getting it RIGHT!
Another part is that I wish drummer Zach Sacco was given more room to do things other than keep time. His double bass work is great but there’s not much as far as cymbal work or fills. Instead, it’s more of a showcase for guitarists Julian Gargiulo and Nick Broomhall. And they can flat out play so that does work, provided they resist the temptation to dumb it down djently.
Unfortunately, “Sky Garden” is an example of how things can and do spiral downhill fast. The first part of the song is awesome. Then 2 minutes in, it sounds like a breakdown accompanied by a toy piano? I don’t get it. They do reverse gears quickly but it’s this constant flirtation with the deathcore side of djent that makes “Cartographer” something I probably won’t listen to. It’s a shame too because I recall the demos having a ton of promise.
If you don’t mind the “ugly” side of djent, and also enjoy melodic instrumental prog metal, there’s a lot for you on the debut from Chronologist. But if you are tired of bands like Periphery pushing the genre closer to metalcore than prog metal, you might want to proceed with caution.
- Cake Batter
- Key Chains
- San Juan
- Sky Garden