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The Spell of Retribution

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Album Review

Now this is more like it! Signing with a proper label and recording 2004's Spell of Retribution in a suitable studio not only helped the Chasm obtain a professional-sounding album, it served to reinvigorate their songwriting. To put it as gently as possible, the preceding Conjuration of the Spectral Empire, besides sounding like it was recorded in a broom closet, had shown worrying signs of creative stagnation that not even the Chasm's innately complex songwriting seemed capable of overcoming. But, thanks to their seemingly bottomless (as in a chasm — get it?) stash of battle-ready metal riffs (fit to rival latter-day epic thrashers Dark Angel), and a renewed commitment to slapping them together in unexpected combinations, the Chicago-based group may have found a way out of their labyrinthine conundrum. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and, with its cycling melodic lick, opening instrumental (some things never change) "From the Curse, a Scourge..." harks back to heavy metal's more innocent, categorically undiluted old days. Moving right along, recognizably challenging material like "Conqueror & Warlord" and "Remains of the Covenant" mark a return to the Chasm's clever and inventive, multi-part works of old; the melodic doom passages of "Retribution of the Lost Years" resumes the band's long-running "I, the Pastfinder" series with memorable and emotionally complex results, and "Fortress" affords one of the most dazzling displays of full-on speed-thrashing to be found in this or any other decade. Cherry-top all these with frontman Daniel Corchado's enduring dedication to penning ever-obscure, but thoughtful, occult-based fantasy metal lyrics (as evocative as anyone who actually reads heavy metal lyrics could ever expect), and the Chasm's reputation for meticulously crafted thrash/death/black metal would appear to be reestablished. In other words, Spell of Retribution is a clear return to form.


Formed: 1993 in Mexico City, Mexico

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of Mexico's most respected and imitated heavy metal bands, the Chasm was formed in 1993 by ex-Cenotaph vocalist/guitarist Daniel Corchado along with guitarist Erick Diaz, bassist Luis Martinez, and drummer Antonio León. After launching its career with the Awaiting the Day of Liberation demo, the band proceeded to display its unique mixture of violent death and ambient black metal with a series of increasingly original and accomplished albums: 1994's limited-edition Procreation of the Inner Temple,...
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The Spell of Retribution, The Chasm
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