Pale Chalice – Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation

Posted on April 20, 2011


The Flenser


If you like Watain, you’ll dig Pale Chalice. I could probably end this review right here, but that would be lazy. Honestly, though; the droning, oddly melodic riffing; the palatable production; the blood oath taking, goat sacrificing ritual feel of it all. Yep, it’s black metal, all right. Sworn to the dark. Dogs of the fucking universe. All that jazz. But unlike those improbably hip Swedes’ latest release, this San Francisco horde manages to not overstay its welcome on Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation. In fact, Pale Chalice’s debut EP demands return trips to its stifling riff vortex for a few reasons:

  • Shriekmaster General Ephemeral Domignostika’s intimate, cover-the-microphone-with-mucus-and-spittle performance. Yeah, it sounds a lot like Erik Danielsson from you-know-who, but if you’re going to take influence from a frontman, it might as well be one who somehow transforms his kvlt black metal act into an arena-ready rock band while gargling gravel.
  • “Transplant of Dimensional Recourse”’s “thumpa-thumpa-thumpa” drumming. Gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em with blast beats. Extremely well paced.
  • The rocking tempo change two-and-a-half minutes into “Command of the Formless.”
  • The swirling nebula of gale-force guitar that propels “Caressed by a Feeble Flame.” And the song’s killer tempo change at, um, around two-and-a-half minutes.
  • The double bass triplets on “Ascend the Idyllic Sphere.” And the badass tempo change at its one-and-a-half minute mark. Predictable? Yes. But by Satan’s beet-red nipples does that riff fucking slay. Cool outro, also. Some really exotic leads zipping around until the track cuts to the requisite acoustic fadeout.

So yeah, Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation is a little unsteady, save for the surprisingly professional mix. It’s the sound of a budding young band finding its place among the torrent of new black metal acts that has all but buried the scene over the last few years. What more do you want from an EP? If you’re in the mood for something on the thrashier side of things, these guys fit the bill and they deserve the support to mold this material into a full-length. Definitely some powerful potential here.

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