A concept album, one designed to flow as presented, in one seamless journey from start to finish. Chimera represents the organic yet not altogether logical progression of our nightly visions, from nightmarish terror, darkness, and introspection through towards hope and peace.
The 11-track record from ISA which includes an intro and outro, is a psychedelic trip combining death metal with technically profound and progressive rifffing. When the word journey is used, that is not an understatement.
Describing Chimera and what ISA do here is no easy feat. On the one hand, it has got familiar death metal meat to the bones. The (mostly) harsh vocals and the flashes of fire and heaviness. On the other it’s one of the most layered progressive metal albums heard this year so far.
Listening to Chimera, it’s like listening to one complete track that shifts like the sands of a desert in a storm. The longer it lasts the more is uncovered and discovered. To say that this is a psychedelic drug-induced dream world doesn’t even come close to capturing the imaginative effort.
Stage I – Descent will likely make up your mind early on as it showcases all you need to know about ISA but isn’t reflective of how vastly the album improves as it goes on. It’s an absolute treat of complex guitars, crashing percussion and atmospheric noise. The start of the journey is akin to a fever as it really begins to takes hold.
Something that really begins to grip tighter and tighter with the exceptionally good Stage IV – Evil and Stage VI – Lust. Two of the heaviest tracks on the album, both an assault of death metal that threatens to melt minds with intense riffing and an absurd level of technical mastery. The latter of the two is definitely an album highlight.
Nearing the end of the night, the deep bass lines and screeching guitar twangs of Stage VII – Freedom and Stage VIII – Ocean sees things head off in a different direction but one that still inspires. Dawn then approches with Stage IX – Recursion, a finale that is the perfect closer as the shifting textures of the album come to the boil.
Exhausted? Not after a nights sleep with ISA’s Chimera as your soundtrack! Managing to sell the concept of our sleeping experiences perfectly, each track sounds like its own thing while also being a complete experience.
I love that it ends with an obnoxious alarm clock too!
ISA – Chimera Full Track Listing:
2. Stage I – Descent
3. Stage II – Fear
4. Stage III – Heathens
5. Stage IV – Evil
6. Stage V – Reflection
7. Stage VI – Lust
8. Stage VII – Freedom
9. Stage VIII – Ocean
10. Stage IX – Recursion
ISA - Chimera (Self Released)
- The Final Score - 9/109/10