A couple of days ago Austrian progressive sludge metal band Chorosia delivered a brand new EP Stray Dogs via Grazil Records and Kvlt und Kaos Productions, focusing once again on an intricate technicality and slimy heaviness. Raw, dissonant and murky, Stray Dogs starts as an unobtrusive soundtrack that slowly shrouds you into endless vapors of swampy deadliness.
Chorosia was founded in 2017 in Vienna, gathering doom lovers and stoners together, armed with offbeat creative ideas and fondness for sludge metal. Their debut self-titled album was released in 2018, after three years A Call to Love followed, and one year ago there also was a live session Audio.manufaktur – Live Session. But with Stray Dogs, there are absolutely new five songs that lead us into the labyrinths of disharmonic messiness vs. enchanting purity, proving that even such polarities can coexist and create its own harmony.
So, in a nutshell, Stray Dogs is about smooth mood changes, these are practically overwhelming, but they are performed so effortlessly and naturally, that you can’t even notice all those shifts and transitions. Yes, the same can be applied to a background mood, this album is like a perfect backdrop soundtrack, but boom, and then you yourself become a background, and the music plays and plays, while you dissolve into it like a secondary detail. It’s a disturbing release in a good way, because you can’t really get the point – is it plainly traditional or maddeningly experimental, relaxed or intense, brutal or enlightening? But one thing is certain – there’s not even a hint of mainstream or predictability, Stray Dogs just flows with the wind avoiding improvisations, intentionally building those intricate webs of diversity.
This EP is quite long; 34 minutes can easily pass for a full-length album. It begins with the self-titled track “Stray Dogs” – juicy, spicy and technically contrasting with disharmonic vibrations. With typical sludge rhythm and stoner atmosphere, we can also detect a constant buzzy background, oriental elements and fine melodies. And let’s not forget about the transparent veil of discordant volatility. “The Shrike (Fire Assault)” has more traditional thrash metal foundation that alternates between stoner and thrash, but boldly merging in disharmonic patterns. The short instrumental “Tintinnabula” is relaxing acoustic track, but as usually with some dissonant vibes. “Reflections” sounds a little bit monotonous in a most monumental way, but still without ritualistic torpor. With cool vibes and tranquil mood it somehow reaches the southern and bluesy zone, but still within solid genre of sludge/stoner amid the occasional acoustic background. “Hands, Switchblades, and Vile Vortices” has some classical doom/sludge references, focusing on repetitive and mechanical way of playing, often faintly interrupted by fuzzy elements that increase your anxiety, leading to primal chaos. But unsuccessfully, all the songs are too structurally polished to be lost in a maze of anomalous harshness and shocking mess. Yeah, we are really stuck between disharmonic hell and systematized paradise, and even without drastic moves or avant-garde quirkiness; how is it even possible? The secret of Chorosia is actually about invisible moves that eventually change the entire pattern – sometimes small experimental steps are enough to create something new.
The artwork has also all the qualities to be stuck in its contemplation – all the intricate details, terrifying allusions and warm color deepness just perfectly echoes this strange music – created by estimable Orion Landau (famous for his collaboration with many metal legends signed by Relapse Records). Lyrically, there’s nothing hopeful or sophisticated, just the fathomless abyss of pain and destruction, just the cesspool of human shit – never-ending journey to hell. And about the title, their singer/guitar player Anto Pranjić recalls the story that after he visited his hometown, he realized there aren’t stray dogs anymore. When their local hunting club promised to deal with the problem of strays, the dogs just disappeared, and considering the fact that there are no shelters in the area, unequivocal conclusions have arisen. So, when you listen to this album and imagine the destiny of those poor dogs, it hits you even harder with all kinds of emotions. And you literally see the giant black hole, where the lonely souls of all stray animals are going, to be lost forever, to become void.
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