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Review: Coram Lethe - ...a Splendid Chaos
Coram Lethe
...a Splendid Chaos

Label: Punishment 18 Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 50:22
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: March 29, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating
...a Splendid Chaos

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

To me the phrase "progressive Death Metal" has always been a bit of a misnomer. I mean really, what is progressive about Death Metal? The answer is nothing (note that that is not a criticism), and when you start adding progressive elements to Death Metal it kind of ceases to be Death Metal and becomes Prog. Well, Coram Lethe are here to prove me wrong with their Death-inspired brand of metal that incorporates progressive sections seamlessly enough to avoid dragging themselves out of the Death Metal arena.

Throughout …a Splendid Chaos Coram Lethe do Death Metal just a little differently. The odd, "wobbly" guitar tone providing the undercurrent for "Passione Della Carne" grabs your attention, as does the instrumental "Mystical Pentagram", and delivers elements not often found in Death Metal. "The Gift of Providence" has a verse riff and groove that reminds me a lot of Death's "Zombie Ritual" , and really, Death is the most obvious comparison for the bulk of …a Splendid Chaos with some elements of melodic Death Metal, 80's thrash and traditional metal thrown into the mix. There are some genuine progressive elements manifesting about the album such as the bass intro of "Mystical Pentagram" or the Maiden-esque melodies that intersperse "Half Identity", and the way these elements weave in and out of the more straight ahead Death riffs is very nicely done. Guitars solos abound, with messieurs Fusi and Occhipinti focusing on melody over technicality and delivering some (again, Death-inspired) memorable shredding, and occasionally doing something new – the muted soloing at the end of "Circles and Crosses" for example, is very cool.

The vocal duties are handled by Erica Puddu; her primary style is a slightly lower Chuck Schuldiner-style sharp bark, but she also frequently drops into a low Death Metal roar to delivery some diversity (this works very well on "Half Identity" where she trades between both styles line by line). Production is very good and reminiscent of Death's Human, due mostly to the guitar tone. The bass is placed excellently in the mix and frequently rumblings to the fore, breaking out of the more standard metal approach and even taking the lead on occasion (see "Ancient Reflections" and the fantastic noodling under the intro "Splendid Chaos" which is almost a solo). Bassist Federico Stiaccini has been taking his "how to play metal bass" lessons very seriously and adds massively to Coram Lethe's sound and going along way to cementing the progressive elements of the music. The drum sound however is a bit weak; especially the bass drums which kind of click along ineffectually, detracting a bit from the sound. The drumming itself is quite good and varied if a tad unimaginative, with Francesco Miatto holding steady and doing pretty much what is expected.

I have not heard Coram Lethe's earlier works so can't comment on how …a Splendid Chaos stacks up, but taken on its own merit it is a great slab of progressive Death Metal. It is very obviously and heavily influenced by Mr. Schuldiner but I cannot fathom how anyone might consider that a bad thing, unless it was a straight rip off – it's not, as the band adds enough diversity through the albums progressive elements to avoid being derivative. This album will not be Coram Lethe's breakthrough album but it will go a long way to getting their name out there in metal land, and I look very much forward to hearing where they take their sound from here.

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