Dark Tranquility, for me, has always been hit or miss. Their songs that I find enjoyable, I cling to tightly and tend to ignore the others, overlooking their technical or artistic merits perhaps. To an extent, I think this EP is a perfect example of why. This is perfect Melodic Death Metal in its whole title. The guitars are harmonized, working in concert to create a feeling of distance, the drums are strong and serve as an engine, one can barely make out the bass line, and the synths add atmosphere. As always, Mikael Stanne’s voice is powerful; his growls are focused snarls dripping with venom reminiscent of Bathory’s Quothorn.
The album’s five songs are well written and well produced. They are tightly wound and very well performed; however, I feel no soul in any of the songs here. They are a perfect and prototypic example of Melodic Death Metal from Gothenburg, Sweden. If you’re into this sort of thing, then this will be right up your alley and you’ll love it; however, the songs almost feel synthetic instead of organic compositions. They feel too perfect an example and feel played by men who are damn good at writing very successful songs of this type. This EP falls flat because of this general sense of ennui in its musical qualities.
Here’s the video from the EP’s title track “Zero Distance”:
A mixture of three bands, Atlas Moth, Wolvhammer, and Nachtmystium, Chrome Waves offers a mixture of sounds respective to each of the members’ current efforts with some new flares added in just for choice. First off, this album sounds like production and recording value were among the lowest of priorities for their team. There is an unmistakeable amount of recording fuzziness. Often times, especially in the more black metal parts of this EP, this helps immensely. Yet, in the more thoughtful and intricate passages on the album, a bit feels lost in translation.
The six song EP opens with a melodic and gentle introductory track that breaks well into the fast paced “Height of the Rifles.” This song offers a black metal infused romp: tremolo riffing, rapid fire blast beats, and the iconic rasping shriek from Atlas Moth (I love this guy’s metal voice). “Light Behind a Shadow” starts off with monolithic drums and a droning, ominous riff accentuated by the fuzziness of the production and is one of the best songs off the EP in terms of its scope and emotion. The “Eyelids of Dawn” goes on for far too long and does not offer the type of respite I was expecting. It seems to accentuate the loneliness inherent in this EP’s sound.
My favorite track was “That Cursed Armored Train” that begins from the ashes of the instrumental track, starting off with a mid-tempo pace and slowly increasing its chugging rhythm like a train. In this track, the vocalist uses a choral mixture of his lower toned growls mixed with his high pitched shrieks. The music on this track breathes as it slows down a touch before ripping off in a fiercely approached ending of pure black metal.
Overall, Chrome Waves’ EP is good; however, its production quality obscured some of the qualities for which they seemed to aspire. It is a lonely and raw sounding production and does contain instances where some of the music is amazing (I love “Blackbird’s” first two minutes) and other parts where I struggle to make out the vision of what they were making.
I couldn’t find an embedding stream, so here’s a link to cvltnation’s stream: LINK.