posted on 11/2005 By:
Melodic riffs? Check. Clean vox? Check. Pristine-yet-chunky guitar tone? Check. Minor harmonics? Check. Verse-chorus-bridge songwriting? Double check. Yep, here we go again. Chain Collector is another entry in the interminable encyclopedia of recent metal bands vying for commercial success, and these dudes aren’t doing a damn thing to distinguish themselves from their zillions of peers. This came as something of a surprise to me; Chain Collector includes ex-members of solid acts like Green Carnation and Carpathian Forest, and I expected something more appealing than…well, this. Like so many likeminded acts, this band doesn’t stray an inch from the genre standard, and in failing to do so doom themselves to irrelevance.
The way I see it, there are two kinds of good metal bands. The first kind, and the more important of the two, succeeds by way of innovation; they chart innovative new courses through the crisscrossed musical world and please with freshness and artistic courage. The second and more common type is the band that plays within a predefined style, but does so with such aplomb, energy, or both that their lack of stylistic creativity is a non-issue. Chain Collector clearly aren’t attempting any sort of foray into the unknown here, so it can only be assumed that they’re shooting for a coup of execution. The Masquerade is thus, needless to say, something of a failure. This shit is just too goddamn inoffensive. Every attempt I make to describe this band’s abilities I come up with nothing but neutral adjectives. Their rhythm section is ‘adequate.’ Their songwriting is ‘mediocre.’ Their vocalists are ‘innocuous.’ Kjell Jacobsen's leadwork is tasteful, but no more than ‘competent.’ Granted, Chain Collector's music can be qualified relative to itself; for example, I prefer their faster, more melodeathy moments on “Fallen Angel” to dragging rockers like “Crucifixion,” but by and large I had virtually no reaction to this disc.
I certainly hope that Chain Collector is playing music for their own artistic satisfaction rather than in search of popular recognition, ‘cause in the Great Melodic Metal Sweepstakes, these guys are just plain outclassed. Killswitch Engage and Herod are far catchier, In Flames are more dynamic, Nevermore, Beyond the Embrace and Nodes of Ranvier outperform them with metallic flair, and all of the above are cleverer than this power-chord-jammin’ nonsense. Let this one go.
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