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3.5 out of 5 skulls

Full Blown Chaos Full Blown Chaos

To this day I still play the hell out of Full Blown ChaosWake the Demons. It’s a burly album that’s simplistically barbaric in its presentation and delivery — aggressive and massive breakdowns accompany a bruising metallic hardcore attack. Unfortunately, the band’s next two albums fell on deaf ears. I just wasn’t a fan of where they had taken their sound. I appreciated the effort they put into each album, but there was a lack of energy and power with Within the Grasp of Titans and Heavy Lies the Crown.

The band’s latest full-length, self-titled effort is a beast unto itself. Just about everything about the album reminds me of why I still blow my ear drums with their debut while pounding weights at the gym. The music on Full Blown Chaos is powerful, bruising and delivered with an energetic ferociousness that was missing in their more recent material.

Lead growler, Ray Mazzola, also appears to be back in form after what I saw as a step back in terms of his delivery the past two albums. His vocals are fuller, more vicious and completely full of enough animosity to let you know he means business with this effort. He delivers a solid performance that is much more full of depth and power, a delivery similar to the beastly growls and shouts that he let loose on Wake the Demons. And he’s not alone in his performance. The riffs (a dual effort from Mike Facci and Mark Gumbrecht) feel that much more bruising — hell there are even some sick leads thrown around amongst the mosh. The rhythm section (Dustin Jennings on bass and Jeff Facci on drums) is laying it down like no tomorrow, creating a bludgeoning foundation from which the rest of the band builds and expands.

The appropriately named opening track is indicative of the band’s efforts. It’s a three minute long neck snapper that goes by so quickly it feels more like an intro to the album. In fact, once the raging stampede effect of that track is over, the album seems to fly by like nothing. It’s full of massive riffs (that can get repetitive at times, but that’s the nature of the beast) and more than enough tempo shifts to keep you full entertained through 40 plus minutes.

If you’re not ready to throw yourself into the first circle pit you see after that opening song, then perhaps the driving pace and shout-along chorus of “Rise and Conquer” or the rumbling groove of “The Walking Dead” will get you stoked for the rest of the disc. “Silence Is Golden” is a great song to get excited about. It’s got an amped up delivery, aggression and more developed song structure that’s reflected throughout the rest of the album in tracks like “Gravedigger” and album closer “The Path I Walk.”

Full Blown Chaos has been four years in the making through more struggle than I can imagine leaving the band that much stronger for it. It’s one thing to deliver pissed off metal. It’s another thing to capture your vehemence in a fashion that is truly awe-inspiring. The 13 tracks on this album are the cumulative effort of a band that’s not only been playing together for quite some time, but also that of a band that’s seen tremendous growth and maturation in their song writing since their last full-length release. Full Blown Chaos is one of those albums that will capture the raw intensity of their debut for fans like myself, as well as bring in newer blood with a renewed sound and natural progression. Needless to say, this album has been on repeat for a good while since it arrived.

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