So far in researching Polish band Chain Reaction they have been tagged as thrash, stoner metal, groove metal or heavy metal. Actually they are all of those and then some, one of the more rounded metal bands to grace the speakers of late. With their second album “Cutthroat Melodies” out now via Kolony Records, the band confirm once more that Eastern Europe produces some of the most powerful and agreeable bands around and that they could be making a big mark on metal given the chance.
Formed at the end of 2002 the quintet of vocalist Barton, guitarists Wodzirej and Dani plus Kommandos and Konar on bass and drums respectively, have garnered a sure and steadily growing respect and fan base through their 2006 demo “id” and debut album “Vicious Circle” of 2009. “Cutthroat Melodies” should take them much further afield as its immense and impressively intense sounds consume more and more ears and hearts.
From the opening pounding from first track ‘Twinge’ the album is relentless, impressive and forceful. Importantly it is also nicely varied within the intense and relentless energy that flies from each and every track. Even in the more melodic and easier paced songs the power is a constant factor without over whelming the flow and skilful play of the musicians pummelling the senses or caressing the ears.
The opening track, if the band is to be labelled, puts them more firmly in the groove metal genre but Chain Reaction pulls flavours and influences from many areas giving them an addictive quality that flows constantly. Second track ‘Prime Integers’ continues the impressive start bringing an even deeper and glorious groove to their sound. The track and riffs swarm all over, tunnelling deep so that they still ring around the head long after the song ends. The track plays like a fusion of Pantera, American Head Charge at their best and Serbian band CounterIgnition especially with Barton’s strong and varied vocals. Growls, guttural groans or a clean delivery, he compliments and completes each track and its energy perfectly.
Track after track the level is maintained or raised. From the intensely dynamic and threatening Mudvayne spiced ‘God Lives Too Long’, through the politically and highly charged ‘Elder Thrived’ sounding like a darker and rampaging Stone Sour, to the ominous mountain of sound and passion in ‘Insomnia Revised (H.B. Woodrose)‘ a more hard rock track complete with an engaging guitar instrumental interlude to finish it off, the album pulsates and thrills non-stop.
It is fair to say there is nothing amazingly groundbreaking from the Warsaw band on “Cutthroat Melodies” but that is not a factor in the enjoyment of the album. The band bring in sounds and elements that are familiar and immediate friends upon hearing but twist and interpret them into their own stylish creative sound that does nothing but beckon and satisfy. ‘Projecting AM’ plays with a harsh In Flames touch but lined with a more melodic ease whilst ‘When Road ‘n Booze Collide’ cruises in with a smart and inviting southern rock sound over a repetitive and incessant beat. Both showing the versatility and variation within the band and their sound but still loaded with a forceful energy that grabs hold tightly.
There is no track that stands out over the others, all of equal standing but there is a soft spot for the brazen riff chest beating assault of ‘Class A Prisoner’ and the closing groove fest of ‘Even If’ which would give most Pantera tracks a run for their money. Truthfully though the complete album is a joy and extremely satisfying. Chain Reaction should get and deserves everyone’s attention, with “Cutthroat Melodies” they are well on the way to achieving it.