Album Review: Icare – Khaos (Division Records)

Founded in 2016, Icare is a blackened grind band from La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Their initial experiments at the rehearsal studio quickly took the form of an album, which was given the title of “Khaos” and was entirely composed and recorded during their first year of existence.

Icare was signed to Division Records in early 2020. Driven by the label’s enthusiasm for their first album “Khaos”, the group quickly returned to the studio to transform it into an even more accomplished version fully designed to be played live.

Inspired by Lovecraft’s universe, the album’s story mixes dystopia and science fiction to create a fantasized mythology that is both stellar and murky. The work on the visual has just added a hard and realistic dimension to the concept of the album, exposing at the same time societal taboos.

Khaos is out on October 30th 2020.

What on Earth is this? The utter assault of noise that greets with such vehemence on the title track, Cauchemar, Emmuré and Naissance, Décadence will require a stop for breath and to try and collect the thoughts. Especially as the combined runtime of all three tracks is just 5:49.

It’s a furious mix of blackened death and grind, so tracks that are short and sharp are hardly unusual. No, what is unusual is how we go from the instantaneous shotgun blast to the face to lengthier and richly detailed pieces of music.

The first turning point coming with Déliquescence, Déchéance where some actual dark melody appears before Icare deliver a monumental piece of blackened fury. The word ‘heavy’ just doesn’t cut it, yet they continue to surprise by having easily discernible rhythm. It’s the sound of an advanced set of musicians.

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Advancement that continues onwards into Reviviscence, Sentence. Each track getting longer and more detailed. Icare clearly learned so much when it came to transforming this album and it pays off. With L’Eschatologie Cosmique Du Jardin D’Éden the sense of grandeur begins to really take hold and aside from their ability to just erupt with unabated fury, it’s hard to believe this is the same band who spat out such venom at the start.

It’s hard not to be impressed. Especially as we went from 30-odd second tracks to, in the case of Nuit De Glace Au-Dessus Du Sépulcre Noir, 14+ minutes. Taking their unrelenting sonic abuse and layering it with grandiose blackened beauty, this is a transformation that needs to be applauded.

Amazingly, it’s not done yet though as Icare have one more to share and once again aren’t going to do it simply. The finale of Le Dernier Souverain Du Royaume Déchu gonig over the 20-minute mark and delivering iconic highs and lows, abashed ferocity, entrancing shifts in tone and a constant slice of sickening savagery.

It really is an album of two halves. While it’s easy to crow about how great the latter part of the record is, the former half really doesn’t do much. Especially by comparison and thankfully, the monumental efforts are the Icare of the future.

Icare – Khaos Full Track Listing:

1. Khaos
2. Cauchemar
3. Emmuré
4. Naissance, Décadence
5. Déliquescence, Déchéance
6. Reviviscence, Sentence
7. L’Eschatologie Cosmique Du Jardin D’Éden
8. Nuit De Glace Au-Dessus Du Sépulcre Noir
9. Le Dernier Souverain Du Royaume Déchu




Links

Bandcamp | Facebook | Division Records

Icare - Khaos (Division Records)
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