"The Chills"

By Dr. Abner Mality

This is a very hard nut to crack. Reviews of great albums are easy to's just a case of finding the right superlatives and stringing them together. The same goes for the real stinkers...just come up with some good zingers and logical reasons for them. "The Chills" falls into neither of those poles.

A very traditional death metal album on the face of it, there's something about this album that holds it back. But it's not a sense of overfamiliarity, because a careful listen will reveal that this band tossed in some interesting curves, such as the truly creepy piano-based instrumental "Sleep Sickness" and the surprisingly epic "The Eyes of Madness" with its Gregorian choirs and doomy focus. In fact, "The Chills" is a good album in every facet save production...and even then, it's not terrible, it just lacks richness and dynamics which could benefit the material. The music has aspects of old Swedish death metal, but it also reminds me of old Pestilence, particularly the vocals which are very Martin van Drunen-like. And that is not an easy guy to emulate, either! "The Somber" (Relentless Winds) even has some grim black metal aspects to it.

In the end, I have to chalk this up to a market oversaturated with old school death metal. It's getting more and more obvious that it takes something enormous to make an impact. For me, "The Chills" is not that album. But for you...well, I say, give it a listen first.