Artist: Awaiting Chaos
Album: Emissary of Hate – EP
Let’s take a step back from a majority of the drama that surrounds modern music–especially modern heavy music. Skip the high-school semantics for a moment and open your ears to something that doesn’t try to be the next djent-downtempo-doo-wop-jazz-fusion band, give a chance to an act that isn’t an unbelievable super-group or genre-defying display of technical prowess. Instead, turn your attention to Awaiting Chaos. These Antwerp annihilators are a force to be feared with a refreshingly simple goal: heaviness for the sake of heaviness. With blast beats that sound like a firing squad’s machine guns, and slams that take sledgehammers to the listener’s skull, the six-piece sinister sensation’s debut EP, Emissary of Hate brings much more than measly misanthropy to the table. Rather, Emissary of Hate comes bearing crushing heaviness and ruthless brutality, making it a relentless, raunchy and riotous EP for fans of anything low, slow, fast or furious.
Emissary of Hate begins energetically and aggressively and doesn’t let up–it is every bit the amalgamation of heavy instrumentation one would expect from an album featuring vocal appearances from the frontmen of both Vulvodynia and Chamber of Malice; such prominently punishing vocal proclivities deserve a raw, raunchy instrumental canvas upon which to work their magic. Percussionist Jelle Steymans is the backbone to Awaiting Chaos’ adequately chaotic instrumental onslaught. Steymans is a force to be reckoned with from the first skin-splitting snare crack in “Everything Ends” to the last jarring slam in “Forever Forsaken.” Steymans’ energetic percussion is a blend of blitzkrieging blast beats to hyper-speed and hellish double kick patterns that reduce the listener’s brain to mush. Even during his fastest and most intense moments of transition (like those in “Disgrace of Mankind”), Steymans is always accompanied by the absurd depth and grotesque grooves of Domien Meeus’ disastrous bass guitar. Steymans and Meeus serve as the foundation of Awaiting Chaos’ instrumental onslaught–a foundation which guitarists Joshua Kinsbergen and Ruben Stremes build off of with punishing precision and a calculated desire to crush the listener. Kinsbergen and Stremes work together to blend Emissary of Hate’s slam-tinted moments lightning-like speed with it’s sections of scathing, smoldering misanthropy. The EP’s title track displays this exceptionally well, as technically immense riffs pour forth from Kinsbergen’s furious fingers, only to wither and dissipate into disastrously heavy breakdowns with the help of Stremes’ brutalizing chugs. All things considered, between Kinsbergen and Stremes’ killer fretwork, Meeus’ meaty bass and Steymans’ severe percussion, Awaiting Chaos provide an all-encompassing and awesomely heavy experience the type of which one wouldn’t even imagine in their most hellacious nightmares.
Just as the band’s instrumental approach is crushing and comprehensive, Awaiting Chaos refuse to skimp in the vocal department. Emissary of Hate is home to a hydra of vocal excellence provided by frontmen Senne Blokland and Arno Steymans. Steymans and Blokland attack the listener’s eardrums with shrieks and gurgles that sound as if they could only be found in the deepest bowels of Hell. Especially when accompanied by any of Emissary of Hate’s excellent guest vocalists, Steymans and Blokland absolutely shine. “Praying for Slaughter” is a display of pig-squeal laden brilliance whose only comparison is found in the ancient recordings of Annotations of an Autopsy, while “Disgrace of Mankind” hinges on the edge of a beatdown vocal style that is sure to turn even Seminaries into mosh pits. Far from monotonous and even farther from ethereal, Steymans and Blokland are the very voices of hell, sending spears of magma and murderous misanthropy through the listener’s head.
Between sinister slams, burly beatdowns and hellacious riff-driven segments of raunchy heaviness–all topped with terrifying vocals–Emissary of Hate finds itself rapidly climbing the hierarchy of well-known and established heavy bands, poising themselves to takeover the global heavy music scene. Imagine a Frankenstein-like monster made of Acrania’s visceral vocals and jarring speed and Ingested’s intense appetite for all things Slam. Then, place all that fleshy, meaty musculature on a skeleton of Chelsea Grin’s thirst for terrifying breakdowns and catchy hooks (circa 2008). Top it with a crown of brilliant and immersive song structure and you begin to get a picture of Awaiting Chaos’ awesome and unique style of music. They are not groundbreaking technical, nor are they remarkably progressive. The only thing they try to break is the listener’s neck–with directionless, remorseless heaviness that perfuses from every pore of the band’s existence, created with the sole intent to totally annihilate the listener.
Heaviness for the sake of heaviness might sound like an insult–but what fans Awaiting Chaos might lose with that moniker, they will gain tenfold from fans just looking for a soundtrack to inflict bodily harm to. Emissary of Hate is a lead pipe wielded by a juggernaut of pure hate, swung solely to inflict gruesome blunt force trauma to the listener’s delicate sensibilities.
For Fans Of: Ingested, I Declare War, Chamber of Malice, Acrania
By: Connor Welsh