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Schizophrenia - Chants of the Abyss Award winner

Chants of the Abyss
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 22 March 2023, 2:29 PM

There are many ways of paying tribute to one (or many bands). One way is releasing an album or EP with versions for songs of older bands that the artist likes. Sometimes we can face what can be called ‘more of the same’, with bands playing always the very same songs, and only playing the songs as they are, without any contribution to give. But the Belgian quartet SCHIZOPHRENIA did a very good work on “Chants of the Abyss”. They’re a Death/Thrash Metal band, what means a combination of Death Metal and Thrash Metal influences, an eroded format used since the 80’s, but these Belgian butchers really play in a form that delivers tons of energy and it’s personal.

Playing songs of bands they are paying tribute as these is really great, because one can feel their own personality and traits on all of them. One of the best tributes releases one can have in hands. The sound quality is really very good: they have an Old School Thrash/Death Metal trend, so the best is to have something organic. And they got something in this way, but defining things and choosing wisely the instrumental tunes. And one feature clear: it seems sometimes as the band set their gears, played and recorded the songs as fierce as they can, but in a simple form. And the result is really very good.

If one pay attention, the quartet made the choices of the songs shown on “Chants of the Abyss” in a form that they’re not classics of the bands (if you can have a look without any kind of passion, will understand the truth of these words), but it doesn’t mean that they’re not great. “Necrophiliac” is an old hymn of SLAYER, from “Hell Awaits” age, here presented with many new arrangements (especially on the drums, a thing that’s not easy to be done on Dave Lombardo’s lines). On MORBID ANGEL’s “Maze of Torment”, the guitars are amazing with their riffs and solos, respecting the original song, but putting their own expressive appeal (and it can be said a ‘B-side’ track because “Altars of Madness” is a perfect release).

Spitting fire and releasing a Metal onslaught comes JUDAS PRIEST’s “Metal Meltdown”, here presented with excellent screams and grunts of the vocals (with some high pitched tunes on some moments), and what great guitars honoring the guitar playing of K.K. and Glenn (and pay attention to some Thrash/Death Metal parts). And “Bullet” is an old hymn of THE MISFITS, a Punk Rock overdosing of Thrash/Death energy, with a simple and great instrumental work. Ripping ears and slaying brains, they unleash a massive wall of energy with “Strike of the Beast”, one of the most underrated songs of EXODUS, again respecting the original song, but imposing a rhythmic massacre on bass guitar and drums (and on the guitar solos as well). And again they have an old Hardcore/Punk Rock song: “Race Against Time”, of the pioneers of GBH, here a clear Thrash Metal side (as Hardcore and Punk are parts of the inner features of Thrash Metal), with excellent vocals.

SCHIZOPHRENIA’s idea could be to pay homage to these bands, but “Chants of the Abyss” is a gift for the fans.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Necrophiliac
2. Maze of Torment
3. Metal Meltdown
4. Bullet
5. Strike of the Beast
6. Race Against Time
Ricky Mandozzi - Vocals, Bass
Romeo Promos Promopoulos - Guitars
Marty VK - Guitars
Lorenzo Vissol - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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