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Album Review: TBA

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Album Review: Full Blown Chaos - Full Blown Chaos

The day I saw NYHC outfit Full Blown Chaos hit Peterborough, England and heard Ray Mazzola ask the audience to turn to the person next to them and punch them full in the face, was the day I understood just how wide the yawning divide between hearing a recorded album and seeing the band perform that same said album live could really be. They were the second of four bands on that day, hardly a position of strength, but they exhilaratingly stole the show by a country mile, leaving a messy trail of testosterone in their wake.

Mazzola has said of the band’s live efforts – “You need to be in everyone’s face and make them remember you, whether they like it or not.” An ethic that makes sense having witnessed it first hand but, away from the venue, the album they were touring that day, Heavy Lies The Crown, amounted to tight, uber-aggressive, yet essentially generic metalcore. So, when I learned about this latest self-titled release and the fact they’d added another guitarist, I began to hope that they’d really had a crack at recreating their live show; had perhaps dredged up a chunk of music that would separate them from their peers.

The first few bars do prove promising and are a lumbering feast of chugged guitar and biting snare, harder and heavier than we’ve heard the band produce previously, but this soon falls away into boorish gang chants housed within short, smooth attacks. The lyrics are a combination of hate-fueled jibes and pointed, moralistic observations – “Why are your words so full of shit, you’re not the first to lie to my face” (from “Villains”), “Our values are running away, this is the process of decay” (from “The Walking Dead”), “Don’t you ever shut the fuck up?” (from “Gutter Mouth”), and “As of right now I don’t know who you are, what have you become, you’ve fallen so far” (from “Gravedigger”).

This band are kings when it comes to concocting big, meaty chunks of rollicking hardcore; music that grinds its way down to the snapping point where the rhythmic artillery disintegrates into heavy-as-hell, double-kicking, slow-motion breakdowns that chew you up and spit you back out into real time. FBC are a righteous Chimaira; Madball on steroids. The tracks do dip in and out of rockier and thrashier sections, but you have to pay attention to what’s being brewed up in the smothered background thrum to spot them – “Rise + Conquer” diligently inserts gaps and chants to soften the impact of the macerator vocal, whilst “Silence Is Golden” emits a rippling Trivium-esque riff which eventually dissipates into a flamboyant solo – the former raises hairs on your neck; the latter stands out like a poodle at a bulldog convention and makes you briefly wish they’d followed their own title’s advice. As for the thrash, “Battle Hymns And Broken Bones” is almost reminiscent of Austrian Death Machine, albeit without the necessary tongue-in-cheek.

As a complete work, it’s all a bit similar and over-familiar. The tracks that do standout are few and far between. “The Walking Dead” and “War Machine” are Full Blown Chaos on maximum – an auditory sea of fists and a firm thumbs up to those who’ve stayed faithful to the cause – and “Cain Marko”, which has a devilish triple (quadruple, if you count the split chorus timings) breakdown finale to mark it out. Essentially though, this isn’t much of a step away from their previous release and, I fear, will all too easily be left lagging behind the Hatebreeds and Unearths of this world.

By all means, do have a go at spinning their CD in numerous locations and at ever-increasing volume levels (as I did with their last release), but you will seriously need to haul ass to an FBC show to fully understand the real impact that this collection of songs can have on you. Mosh gloves are an absolute necessity.

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