ARTIST: Chemicaust + ALBUM: Unleashed Upon This World + LABEL: Dark Rituals + RELEASED: JAN 5, 2018
Following up their 2015 EP As Empires Fall, Dallas, Texas thrash metal behemoth’s Chemicaust finally deliver their first full-length album, Unleashed Upon This World. After playing local and regional gigs for the last few years, this album is a welcome release. A release that puts on display not only a great band, but also stands as a testament to the thriving Dallas-Fort Worth metal scene. Ernie Jaramillo (vocals/bass), Pierce Hall (guitar), Damian Giron (guitar), and Ronn Harris (drums), have been perfecting their 1980’s inspired thrash metal sound since they formed in 2013 and this album is evidence that their hard work has paid off.
The album opener, “As Empires Fall,” is pure mayhem. Instantly kicking off in high gear, the song changes time from uptempo to even faster to a touch slower and back again. A razor sharp guitar solo midway doesn’t even begin to foreshadow the delirious solo that eventually closes the song. However, the track does foreshadow the turn on a dime time changes heard in the tracks “Human Sacrifice” and “Genocide.” These changes alternate between smooth and turbulent, but ultimately show a band who knows how to manage the chaos they induce. “The Absurd Beautiful Lie” opens with a tribal drum beat and thick bass line that builds into riff-heavy guitar sequence that eventually opens up to a Jaramillo scream that recalls Tom Araya’s howl on Slayer’s “Angel of Death.” From there, the song marries a classic metal riff with a catchy vocal hook that would be the envy of any metal band, regardless of genre.
Other tracks, like “Incarcerated,” “Serenity,” and the title track further show what excellent musicians make up the band. Indeed, the guitar interplay between Hall and Giron is something to behold. Their licks weave together seamlessly, yet retain each players style and elevate the songs at the right moment rather than serving as an obligatory showcase for either individual. Case in point: “Genocide.” Starting with a mid-tempo and melodic give-and-take and then meshing into a soaring lead before landing on a classic speed-metal riff, the song is quintessential Chemicaust. Further, Jaramillo and Harris are as tight of a rhythm section you’ll find anywhere. Indeed, the drums and bass anchor the album, giving the guitarists room to do their thing without having to define the songs based on their riffs alone. The band closes the album with a cover of Exodus’ “A Lesson in Violence.” Not a huge departure from the original, but a searing and inspired rendition of the genre classic that influenced the band to be who they are today. It’s a fitting way to end the album as it ties together the roots from which the band holds dear.
Unleashed Upon This World is a great album. You don’t have to align yourself to any of the myriad sub-genres that have emerged in the last 20 years to appreciate it. If you’re a metalhead who likes angry, fast, hardcore metal you’ll love this album. It’s a relentless collection of songs that will surely piss off your neighbors.
– J. Kevin Lynch
If you’re interested in learning more about Chemicaust’s new album, check out our interview with Ernie Jaramillo.