Chaostar - Anomima
Season Of Mist
Orchestral Music
12 songs (56'20")
Release year: 2013
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Alex

Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh studied music composition and orchestration at London College of Music, and one outfit (a pretty successful one too) is not enough for him to showcase the knowledge. Enter Chaostar, a band which has been in existence for over a decade, of which I have not heard, and the one where Christos can really try all those orchestration and compositional ideas he learned while earning his Bachelor’s/Masters stripes.

One would think then that Anomima might be some sort of Therion disciple, yet things could not be further from that. After bubbling to the surface from Tartaros the goddess is finally born in the opener 間 (MA) and I was burgeoning with anticipation of the symphonic breakout, but, again, Chaostar is just not that type of band. Not on Anomima anyway. Instead of a big majestic orchestra Chaostar’s is a small intimate chamber classic inspired melodies, interwoven with operatic female vocals by Androniki Skoula and a bunch of native Greek instruments I don’t dare to identify. Song after song after song, I was waiting for Anomima to begin sucking me into the vortex, and the one never came. There are flutes, and strings, and celebration of female voice observed from many angles, but the album simply never moves on beyond the overture point. In fact, the whole Anomima does sound like one endless overture. The compositions make an especial successful effort to eschew regular drumming, substituting it with some fancy percussion, losing the song’s outline in the process. The first sustained drumbeat doesn’t show up until the very end of the second song Un pensiero per il destino, and even there it goes by the wayside when elegiac, introspective Sorrow Descending takes over. Dramatic at times, the latter can be compared to Lacrimosa’s collages, but Tilo Wolff understands somehow that his pseudo-classic prowess alone won’t make for an engaging listen. A few moments of tribal drumming in Dilate the Time and jazzy active bass substituting for the whole rhythm section in the welcome tempo change represented by The Charmer is about all rhythm one is going to get here, until the bonus track, a pretty cool Roxette colored technobeat Canticles 2.

Androniki Skoula is therefore left pretty much on her own to be the centerstage of this opus. She can go from operatic drama queen (Un pensiero per il destino) to dying swan (L'idée fixe) to more Jarboe style lament to some Greek mourner sadness Όμορφη κόρη (Fair Maiden). Her duet with a male voice in Dilate the Time sounds a bit like a JC Superstar musical, and in Les réminiscences extatiques there is a decent Piaf impersonation. Medea is about the only song that is quirky, somewhat cacophonic, bringing the foreboding pigs-to-the-slaughter feeling, as opposed to the rest of Anomima stuck in its own dreamland.

There must be some deep story behind the album. Not only female voice is celebrated, the album cycles through songs’ lyrics in many different European languages. There is Italian, French, Greek, maybe even German. If the music on Anomima was just a bit more beyond the pretense, that story would have been worth exploring, while listening to the album repeatedly. As it stands, however, the almost “who cares” reaction is all I could muster thinking whether I am in the mood for deeper research of Anomima’s intentions. If studying music theory is your thing, you can share pointers back with the readers as to why Anomima is a gem. I am, unfortunately, is a mere fan and dilettante who need way more essence to get excited.

Killing Songs :
It probably shoudl say something that I liked the techno bonus track the most
Alex quoted 50 / 100
Other albums by Chaostar that we have reviewed:
Chaostar - Threnody reviewed by Sin and quoted 92 / 100
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