posted on 9/2010 By:
Polish death metal bands have the worst luck. They also seem to have the most heart.
Vader, the country’s flagship metal act, toiled through the eighties under an oppressive totalitarian government and lost their long-time drummer to drug problems in 2005. Decapitated were decimated by a 2007 van crash that killed their drummer and ended their vocalist’s career. Recently, Behemoth frontman Nergal publicly acknowledged his leukemia diagnosis.
But for whatever reason—perhaps in-born toughness derived from Poland’s long and often sorrowful history—all of these bands have carried on. So, too, have Quo Vadis. Since their formation in 1986, this band has churned out eight full-lengths, all the while enduring their own obscurity and the success of a younger Canadian death metal band of the same name.
Needless to say, sole original member Tomasz Skuza’s dedication to his art is impressive. Unfortunately, Infernal Chaos is less so.
Quo Vadis’s hybrid style falls somewhere between Amon Amarth’s melodic gallop and Vader’s thrashier moments. Bassist Skuza walks a middle path with his vocals as well—his half-screamed-half-sung delivery owes as many debts to Dave Mustaine as to Peter Wiwczarek. But this fusion sounds more interesting on paper than it does on speakers; Infernal Chaos hangs out in a very inoffensive death/thrash pocket.
When a group of musicians aren’t exactly setting the world on fire with their creativity, they need to execute superbly to make up the difference. Quo Vadis fail to do so. Sure, there’s a tasty riff here and there, but most of these songs lean on their choruses—and thus on Skuza’s decidedly grating voice. To make matters worse, those choruses are loaded with juvenile bounce both rhythmically and lyrically (see “Blood for Oil” and the cheerleader refrain of “Bomb and Fire”).
Yes, Quo Vadis’s tenacity is laudable. But Skuza’s perseverance through the years doesn’t make this middle-of-the-road album any more exciting to listen to. No matter how much we might want it to be otherwise, heart alone doesn’t make for good metal.
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