Chaoswolf – Templo De Palabras Muertas

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Label: Symbol Of Domination Productions / Caligo Arcanum Productions

Were it not for the Spanish song titles, there would be little to indicate that Chaoswolf hail from Mexico, judging by Templo De Palabras Muertas. This is cold, grim, raw black metal that brings to mind the likes of Horna and Drowning The Light, and taps in to that same sense of decaying majesty and blasphemous glory. Vicious and rabid, the heresies it presents are full of dark glory and power, possessed of a spirit that is both noble and primitive. But more than that, there is the sense that the Chaoswolf has put something of himself in to these songs, seeking some kind of release from whatever it is that plagues him. It is rare to hear raw, chaotic black metal that has such an intense, cathartic feel.

Introductory track “La Escision De Ouroboros” is a curve-ball, its synth-heavy nature a deceptive, yet unsettling, way to begin the album. More representative are Chaoswolf’s tortured vocals – his shrieks, screams, and invocations are a highlight throughout the album, and their presence on the intro track sets the mood of what follows. And oh, what glorious heresies follow. There are a lot of raw black metal acts out there, but few have struck me with the same force as Chaoswolf do once the album properly gets underway with “Orgasmortem”. The right balance of melody and brutality is present in the riffs and leads throughout the album, successfully tapping in to the same darkness that haunts the best albums of the genre. Of special note is the drumming; rather than simply blasting away, session drummer Berserker adds small cymbal flourishes and technical touches throughout Temple De Palabras Muertas, giving the album extra textures and character that other bands of this style often lack.

Chiefly, though, it’s the guitars and vocals which steal the show. Chaoswolf’s vocals are never less than depraved, a frantic stream of hatred and blasphemy, full of character and force. More than anything, it helps make the music sound dangerous, something that is lacking in much modern black metal. Behind him, the riffs are often catchy, infused with dark melody and power, with solos placed at key points, where they raise the music above the mundane and ordinary. Key to their success is the scornful, superior spirit and aura that they invoke. Even if they hardly reinvent the genre, they are a prime example of just how powerful raw black metal can be. “Tanatema” is a case in point; opening up with a second-wave style riff, it soon shifts in to something slightly slower and more mournful, though no less powerful; whilst fifth track “La Muerte De Calvarium Funestus” slows things down considerably, providing some much-needed respite from what is largely an unrelenting album.

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Seventh track “El Discurrir De Un Cancer Del Ser” is, for me, the pick of the bunch. Opening with a mid-tempo, darkly melodic lead and riff, it shifts in to far more frantic tempos, topped off with Chaoswolf’s blood-curdling shrieks. It rarely lingers on one tempo or riff for long, constantly shifting and moving, mixing together fury and melancholy with rare skill. It’s followed by “Extraduccion A Lo Inconsciente”, a relatively gentle acoustic and synth-based outro, before the two bonus tracks “Wings Of Paradox” and “The End Of BM Paradise” kick in. The bonus tracks are different in character to the main album – especially “Wings Of Paradox”, which is quite synth-heavy – but both have their charms, even if the differences in production and style clearly mark them out as additional bonus tracks.

When done well, raw black metal is one of my favourite styles in the genre; and, based on Templo De Palabras Muertas, Chaoswolf have a lot to be proud of here. It is a hateful beast, yet still maintains its dignity throughout; no matter how vicious the album becomes, control is never quite lost. There is undoubtedly a darkness about Chaoswolf that goes beyond the costume Satanism of most black metal acts (if you need immediate evidence, then just look at the artwork); this cathartic, hugely aggressive nature, combined with some strong song-writing, makes Templo De Palabras Muertas an album that fans of bands such as Drowning The Light and Satanic Warmaster would be well advised to check out.

Templo De Palabras Muertas can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp; and can be purchased on CD from Satanatha Records webstore.

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