Chaos Magic? Caterina Nix? As a huge music fan who loves to search out for new acts, am I supposed to heave heard of either? I’m wondering because before I got these review links, I hadn’t. The name of the band tells me that Chaos Magic are a project that, this time, features Nix as the vocalist but apparently, this is a band, not a project, a band that when it got started in 2015, contained former Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki. Nix, born in Santiago, Chile, was discovered by Tolkki on one of his South American tours and with his help, Chaos Magic was put together. Nix has since then been one of the singers on Tolkki’s Avalon albums where their latest effort Return To Eden was the first time I heard her sing, when I was reviewing that record. For the new record, Nix has been working with Chilean producer, singer and musician Nasson (I’m sorry, I don’t know who he is either) and has gathered some well-known celebrities as Tom Englund (Evergrey) and Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, CoreLeoni, Lords Of Black, The Ferrymen) as guests.
One look at the covers of their two albums, the band’s name and all the people involved in this project, I took one guess how this would sound before I started listening to it – gothic, symphonic Metal with touches of Opera here and there and names like Within Temptation, Nightwish and Epica entered my mind right away. Opener “You Will Breathe Again” proved me right – at least to some degrees. It’s an uptempo Hard Rock tune, slightly gothic with a refrain that steps into AOR. It’s good on the guitar riffs and the chorus is catchy but all in all, the song is insipid and really doesn’t grab me, without being bad per se. The title-track and second single, featuring Tom S Englund on guest vocals, comes in a mid-tempo and is heavy and dark. It do send a nod towards Evergrey and that’s not only because of Englund’s voice. It’s a bouncy, kicking and direct track with a strong main melody and a big, catchy chorus – very good!
Leading single “Like Never Before” is a heavy and punchy metal-fueled stomper. It’s quite rhythmic and in-your-face with a big melodic arrangement and a refrain that slides into the more modern sounds of Metal. It’s a catchy as hell tune that will stick in your mind no matter if you want it to or not so it’s a no-brainer it was chosen as the first single. Featuring Italian keyboard player, composer and producer Mistheria (I have no clue who this guy is) on keyboards, “Beware Of Silent Waters” is a dark yet beautiful, tender and atmospheric ballad that sounds like Within Temptation with a big, striking pop-chorus on top. It’s a good ballad that should be a future single. “Falling Again” comes in a fast tempo, it’s punchy and striking with a hard punch but also a quite memorable refrain that holds a contemporary radio-rock refrain, clearly written with radio in my mind, featureing Nasson as a guest-vocalist. It’s not bad but it never gets under my skin at all.
“Bravely Beautiful”, featuring Ailyn Gimenez of gothic Metal band Sirenia, comes with some poppy melodies that mixes Within Temptation with modern day Nightwish, over a bouncy, fat and heavy rhythm and a damn catchy refrain. It’s a good song while listening but it fades fast from my memory the second it’s done. “Throw Me To The Wolves” is dark, riff-happy, tough and hard-hitting with a metal-groove as a base. Style wise, it lands somewhere close to Evergrey meets Nightwish and holds a decently catchy chorus but at the same time there’s nothing spectacular with the tune at all – ok at best. “I’d Give It All” is a stripped ballad with only acoustic guitar and vocals and some orchestral backups later on – very serene and delicate and a well-needed breather. I like this one a lot.
“Path Of The Brave” features Ronnie Romero – this guy really is everywhere nowadays – and is a heavy and gritty metal-influenced hard rocker that’s crunchy and kicking but also slightly radio-friendly with an über-catchy refrain. It’s maybe the hardest track on the album but also one of the catchiest – and my personal favorite here. “My Affliction” is slower in pace yet heavy with a modern Metal outlook. It’s a deep and dark, slightly gothic with some minor industrial vibes that contrasts some to the softer laden melodies. It’s an ok track that’s a bit forgettable. The closing track is the latest single “I’m Your Cancer”, an upbeat, heavy and straight-forward pop-metal stomper with an in-your-face swagger and a slight Within Temptation influence. It’s decent but there are more single-friendly tunes on the record.
While I don’t find this album bad, I do find it somewhat uninteresting and it feels like I have heard this record a million times before. Musically it’s pretty standard melodic, goth-influenced Metal and my guess above was accurate – at least to most extents. No touches of Opera are found on this record but Within Temptation seems to be a pretty big inspiration for this. With only a few really good songs, Nix’s fantastic voice more or less saves this album, when most songs are fillers but even the good ones are both predictable and fast-fading from my memory. There’s only a very few of all those female-fronted, gothic Hard Rock/Metal bands I appreciate and besides, I believe that the best-before date of this kind of Metal expired years ago. Ok while listening but very soon forgotten.
1. You Will Breathe Again
3. Like Never Before
4. Beware Of Silent Waters
5. Falling Again
6. Bravely Beautiful
7. Throw Me To The Wolves
8. I’d Give It All
9. Path Of The Brave
10. My Affliction
11. I’m Your Cancer