Written between 2016 and 2018. Recorded in Ted Clark’s studio. Produced and engineered by Brad Tuttle (Seventh Studios). Released on Friday 7 September 2018 on Bar 3 Records.
Fun fact: the name Chandrian Kill comes from Patrick Rothfuss’s best-selling fantasy series, the King Killer Chronicles.
The Chandrian Kill project, began as the brainchild of songwriter and guitarist Ted Clark (Moesaboa, My Life In The Making) before bringing Nic Whitmore (Number One Son, Stonewall Silence) onboard to handle vocals.
What they have created is a thoughtful and melodic collection of three songs that according to Clark are based around the concept of “life, being self-aware, our experiences, relationships, knowing who we are and how we feel about our existence and place in the world.” And it is a thing of beauty.
Fittingly, “I collide” (track 1) begins the EP by considering how we begin life.
“We’re born kicking and screaming from the darkness into the light of the world, from absolute peace into abject chaos,” said Nic Whitmore. “No matter how hard we try, what we do, how we grow or mature, we always seem to end up back where we started, we are a contradiction to everything. It’s an internal and external conflict that’s so inescapable, it has to be confronted, which in itself is conflict and thus the never ending cycle continues.”
The song races off the starting blocks at a gentle gallop, reminding me a little of Evanescence in its orchestration: a beautifully melodic vocal line sitting atop a wall of jangling guitars and thumping toms. The song quickly settles into a groove which ebbs and flows, changing pace a little but not enough to throw any unwelcome surprises. The song has a gentle strength, a quiet darkness, a fragility in its heaviness. It has an almost epic quality. I found myself singing it to myself long after I had finished listening to the EP.
“Filter off” (track 2) opens with a distorted, almost white-noise strum before a hop and a skip and the main riff that lollops like a drunken fist master while Nic Whitmore’s serene vocals glides above. About a third of the way through, the song quietens and bounces along to an almost whispered recitative over a walking bass and guitar arpeggio. Then like a sudden storm Whitmore’s vocals distort to a growl and Clark’s guitar scrapes out a frantic rhythm in machine gun-like bursts.
Again, this is a largely gentle and thoughtful track. It takes its time, like a meandering river, exploring new themes, gently picking up pace before returning to its original course. On each listen you hear something new, a previously unheard layer, each adding depth and complexity but not distracting from the whole.
Then before you know it, the track buffets to a close. The final chord rings out, and sounding a little like Yoda’s advice to Luke on Dagobah in Episode V, Whitmore whispers, “Don’t live, don’t live afraid”.
With the longest intro of the EP, “Remain alive” (track 3) gradually builds to a breathless climax, sounding like a messenger gasping out the news that we are finally at war. This is perhaps the most straightforward rock-out track of the three songs on the EP, until it hits an almost Def Leppard ‘Hysteria-era’-style middle eight that kicks your step out of pace and introduces a dynamic and tension that is resolved only once the original riff returns.
The the first of a sequence of planned EPs, Chandrian Kill have created something quietly extraordinary. It is light, it is heavy, it is fragile, it is strong. There is a depth and complexity that belies its initial listening. It both captures and reflects the complexity, fragility and strength of human life. My only criticism: it’s not long enough! This EP left me feeling both hopeful about the human race (and boy! do we need that right now) and eager to hear what is next from Whitmore and Clark.
If you are a fan of Stone Sour, Deftones, Evanescence, or just good, solid melodic heavy music check it out! This is one release that just keeps on giving.
Review score: 95%