It’s been a strange couple of years for Chronographs. After a sneaky rebrand, they burst onto the scene with ‘The Outhouse Sessions’ in 2010, and they’ve been playing shows here, there and everywhere, all while writing, recording and maintaining a presence on every social network possible. With several members still finishing off their degrees, it can’t have been easy. Nevertheless, all the hard work has paid off. Nausea is one of the best releases I’ve heard all year.
Immediately, Opticks is an aural assault. Though in the beginning, it’s frenetic and brutal, the track storms through any expectations as soon as the clean vocals hit. It’s a refreshing change in a scene where having the gruffest vocals or the meatiest breakdowns is paramount, but Chronographs deliver on both fronts all the way through the EP. Tom Benson’s exquisite bass is also a huge highlight here, as in this kind of metal, bass is all too forgotten.
Veritas continues to straddle that fine line between melody and brashness, but really launches into the breakdowns too. Chronographs are more than technically proficient, but it’s great that they don’t necessarily overdo it; the temptation to launch into eight minute long guitar solos just because you can does not necessarily mean that you should. And that makes every little flourish in the drums, or every catchy little guitar line, even sweeter. Inanis, recently featured in one of Metal Hammer’s compilations, is a beast of a track, thanks to Jon Sinfield’s vocals – such a unique and distinct tone greets you every time you stick a Chronographs track on.
The title track, Nausea, is the best track on offer here. Everything about it is perfection, drawing all the elements displayed so far and putting them together into an aggressive explosion of a track. But the best part is the semi-classical section towards the end – a bit like Opeth, but with greater brevity and far more of a cool factor. Finisher Resolve is just sublime. Lyrically, it’s far more mature than its contemporaries, and there’s this bit at the end that’ll have you screaming along with joy.
Nausea is perfect. The next challenge will be for Chronographs to pull off this kind of standard across a full length release. 2012 may have been the year where Chronographs started to establish themselves, but 2013 is where they’re going to seize the alternative throne once and for all.
5 out of 5 high fives!