The Chasm

Procession to the Infraworld

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The Chasm have never really played it safe, and 2000's Procession to the Underworld is a perfect example, finding the Mexican underground legends embarking on a distinctively esoteric journey into dimensions unknown. Arcane song titles like "Spectral Sons of the Mictlan" (the disc's mood-setting opening instrumental), "At the Edge of the Nebula Mortis" (one of many extended, multi-riffed highlights), and "Cosmic Landscapes of Sorrow" (featuring a gloriously morbid middle-section) abound, and help put this album in a class all its own. By comparison, one-dimensional thrasher "Fading..." sounds just that -- one dimensional -- but thankfully marks the exception to the rule (or, non-rule, as it were) guiding this adventurous, ever-questing death metal original. Rounding out and supporting this assertion, further standouts "Return of the Banished" and "Architects of Melancholy Apocalypse" (check out that title!) alternate deliberately doomy riffs with frenetic black metal speed-runs, and then unexpectedly unleash downward-spiraling harmonies and melodic solos at the drop of a scythe. Powerful stuff, yes, but the Chasm's true strengths originate in the meticulousness of their songwriting -- not the overwhelming force with which they are delivered -- and for that they are to be commended.

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