In 2009, whilst the band themselves were 16 years of age, Ottawa based Cholera released their first EP “Enslaved Humanity”. “Prophecies of Annihilation” is their first full length release and is indicative of the maturity they posses whilst still not even in their twenties.
The album opens with the 9 minute “Road into the Fire”, a maelstrom of lightning guitar solos and riffs which are mathematical in their execution, but maintain an organic, Middle Eastern feel. This sense of humanity is augmented by the raw, grubby production throughout. There are several remarkable passages within the track “Enslaved Humanity” that flourish upon hammering riffs, interspersed with majestic keyboard passages, which leave the listener wondering where the music will be leading them next.
Cholera‘s 18 minute extravaganza “The Lost Traveller” breaks the mood with a delicate piano introduction which hangs over the track instilling suspense, before lines of luxurious flamenco guitar, elaborate bass and guitar and swathes of spiritual keyboards push aside any belief that the album may have changed down a gear. The interplay between clean vocal and guttural growling provides another layer to the mix. Even passages of cello have been employed to prevent the listener from becoming complacent. The almost baroque opening to “Reminiscence” finds the listener wondering if they have indeed switched albums, before 8 minutes in the familiar gymnastic riffs return.
The title track “Prophecies of Annihilation” has to be some of the most progressive and creative 11 minutes to be heard in a long time. The delicate keyboard section mid way through is a virtual narrative which conjures up a variety of images for the listener before each one, at 7 minutes in, is callously shattered with an explosion of fretwork. The Middle Eastern theme appears to run through many of the melodies and guitar runs, which, rather than pigeon holing the sound, adds another layer of influence and authority.
The songs themselves are characterised throughout by long, convoluted instrumental passages that abruptly make way for the invigorating vocal sections. It is a feat in itself to produce 5 lengthy tunes that capture the interest of the listener, and fail to let go for the duration. There are few albums that can be summed up in one word, but “Prophecies of Annihilation” has that rare essence of “exhilaration”. It achieves this, but at no time does the album lose its cerebral appeal, which listeners’ familiar with this style of presentation will not be disappointed with. Whatever the taste of the listener, Cholera deliver many styles here to digest, and each one is undertaken with skill and enjoyment.