Chapters are a London-based metal band who have been together since 2009 and “The Imperial Skies” is their anticipated debut album. Anticipated because this band have seemingly created quite a buzz on the live circuit following gigs with the likes of Sylosis and Malefice to name but two.
But creating a word-of-mouth reputation on the live circuit is a little different from laying those same sounds down in a studio where there’s no crowd feedback or party atmosphere to maintain the momentum. So it’s fortunate that on “The Imperial Skies” the band seem to have captured some of that magic that makes a great live metal band a solid recording unit as well, as evidence by the opening one-two punch of ‘I Will Reign Forever’ and ‘The Siren’; the former evoking Machine Head’s ‘Imperium’ as a lengthy but powerful opener with plenty of twists and turns, and the latter a more straight-ahead metal thrasher with an underlying groove and some insane double-kick drumming.
However, Chapters aren’t just about smashing you in the face with brutality, as the short orchestral break of ‘Arising’ ushers in the haunting ‘The Ecliptic Circle’ featuring a beautiful vocal from Sian Sanderson. This is followed by the intense title track, with vocalist/bassist Joe Nally laying down a vocal so intense and raw that it’s likely that changes of underwear were needed along with the throat sweets.
The albums ends as it began, with a lengthy track that covers all of the sounds that the band cite as an influence. In this case the song ‘Chapters’ is nearly four-minutes of nasty, death/thrash pounding before breaking down into melodic acoustic guitars and cellos before coming back strong with some furious prog metal fretwork. Chapters provide a sonic melting pot of different sounds and influences that modern metal has adopted over the last few years and spit it all out with a sheet-metal production that brings to mind the likes of Machine Head, Pantera and Fear Factory in its precision. It may not be a wholly original thing to do but Chapters do it so convincingly well that, as far as being a starting block for a recording career, “The Imperial Skies” is nothing short of impressive.