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Chaostar - Anomima
Written by Doctor T.   
Thursday, 12 December 2013

Chaostar - CD Review
Anomima

 

 

 

CD Info:
2013
12 tracks
Greek, French, English, Italian, German and Japanese lyrics
Season of Mist
9.5 / 10

 

Diversity is, in my humble opinion, a worthy trait in most things human. And that would include music. Of course, as with all things human, you can take a good thing too far and it becomes less a good thing. My mind strays to the less than tantalizing sounds of gangsta rap and the Beiber. However, a lower standard deviation along that diversity continuum can provide for decidedly interesting musical constructs. I was first introduced to Chaostar at the recent MFVF Festival. I had seen the band at the hotel and thought they looked like interesting people, especially lead vocalist Androniki Skoula who presents a completely different look from most Greeks of my association. But, there were lots of people in that lobby I didn’t know so I didn’t take the time to meet them. However, several days later when I caught their act on stage I was blown away. Now, there was a lot of good music at MFVF, a lot of incredible talent. But, there was nothing like Chaostar, they are a different breed of musician, a different take on Femme Metal. In fact, some would argue that they’re not strictly metal. I won’t take the bait and argue that point, however, if you like solid music, interesting ideas, and a wealth of novel approaches to presenting it, Chaostar is at the top of the list for bands that meet those requirements.

I finally got to meet Androniki briefly following the Chaostar set at MFVF XI. To suggest she’s an interesting looking woman is to seriously understate the obvious. Her English is pretty good and we got a little time to talk. I remember a few comments, but she is clearly a well-educated, highly trained classical vocalist, and she performed music in a number of languages and styles. I wasn’t sure I could work with her on this article initially, however, it got worked out following the Festival and I got a download of Anomima and found it every bit as interesting as the live performance, without the visuals, that is. Since that time I’ve had an opportunity to talk about things with Androniki through some messaging and have a little bit better understanding of what the music is about and where it came from. My first question concerned the title, which made no sense to me but clearly frames the entire work. Androniki talked about it saying, “Anomima means ‘sin’ in Greek and it refers to all the unspeakable or provocative actions that may appear to be extreme the times they are spoken, but after years they seem to be the Evangelion of the freedom of thought and speech. Common example Galileo Galilei who has claimed the spin of earth around its own axis and around sun but he faced death for being disrespectful to the religious and governmental authorities of his ages. Today he is worshiped for being among the first who stated the truth. In our new album ‘Anomima’ we are inspired by those kinds of people who defy the mainstream notions of their ages and fight for their beliefs. One of those is the protagonist of the Greek tragedy "Antigone" who defies the laws of the King and follows her heart paying the price with her life. That is why she sings ‘Hail of obedience, your chamber's Kingdom, sorrow descending, my soul ascends.’” Clearly the thoughts of someone who has done some reading, some studying and some thinking before she puts pen to paper.

I asked Androniki to describe the music of Chaostar; she declined, saying “We honestly don't use any kind of classification of our music if I understood well your question...It is hard to classify Chaostar easily.” And she’s right. There are terms used, terms like “classically inclined, rich orchestration, celestial vocals, music that shifts in soundscapes influenced by multiple cultural influences” and so on. Those influences drive the music, which, I should point out, comes in 6 languages on this release. That being the case, it’s a little hard to point specifically to the message for each track, but there are enough in English for me to get a feel for the content.

Although Androniki is the voice of Chaostar, the guiding light is Christos Antoniou. You may recognize him from his association with Septicflesh. Androniki described him with due respect, “Christos Antoniou has studied in England classical music, composition at the London College of Music and Master degree in Concert Music. His music is always influenced by the 20th century classical music and he mostly aims to combine controversial elements. Christos is a lover of music, seeing no boundaries in expression and musical direction. For him every sound can be an inspiration and he is able to convert that into a fresh amalgam that reminds his unique style. In ‘Anomima’ he also does that thing, aiming to mix different musical genres and to put in dialogue extreme sounds.” You might be catching on that this is, to a real extent, intellectual music from people who have some serious training and preparation.

Well, let’s talk a little about the individual tracks. Misery’s King is a pretty good option to introduce you to the material. We get a variety of sounds, and one fantastic vocal. There’s solid production that ties it all together and the lyrics take some interesting twists:

 

These rocks became my palace / I am king without one subject
Hallucination is my faithful servant / When I feel sad, I am dancing with my thoughts
I tried to lock inside me / Something young, Something vivid But in Vain

Now I am Misery’s King

The music can also go in some darker directions, with a different tone and style. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this Doom Metal, there’s just not a lot of metal. But, the ever popular term ambient / dark wave might apply. The track is Sorrow Descending and again, you get the lush orchestration with the very different background sounds that support the classical vocals. The message provided in the lyrics takes a darker road:

Mounting the throne, time rolls. / Sunday ending but Sunday dawns...
For the dice with death, I pray again!
Halo of obedience, your chamber's Kingdom! / Sorrow descending, my soul ascends!
Alas! Long live with the dead! / My soul ascends, my vows were kept.

 

There are other models on the release. Medea opens with a male spoken word. But, it doesn’t stay there long. This is one of those that go a little further out there. If you’re solidly tied to heavy metal, this might not work, but, if you’re ready to listen to some different sounds, this one will provide you with an opportunity to “expand those horizons.”

However, it’s the “classical” that drives most of the work. Even when the going gets a little harder, the music is grounded in a classical framework. Un Pensiero Per Il Destino provides that framework and then provides opportunities to explore multiple musical alternatives utilizing a variety of instruments and a truly classical operatic vocal.

Chaostar is a little different direction from what we often cover on this site. But, if they’re close enough to play MFVF they clearly have something to offer a lot of us. I’ve sure spent a lot of time listening to them lately and enjoyed it immensely. Give them a listen, you might just agree.

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