The Pristine Library
by: Johnathan A. Carbon
"Pretty decent melodic black metal. Not as melodic as some, but still good. The production here is unfortunately lacking, as the guitars are not as clear as they could be. However, there is a substantial use of keyboards, enough to usually offset the lack of well-produced guitars. The songs are usually long, and avoid becoming monotonous, as they vary quite a bit, but unfortunately, only a couple of the tracks are actually memorable. Also, there are a few too many blast beats for my tastes, but this is still quite good, and an enjoyable listen."

Emperor _In the Nightside Eclipse_ (1994)

"This is the debut release of Devin Townsend's new project, Strapping Young Lad. Townsend, former vocalist for Vai, has created something here that is almost impossible to categorize, but nonetheless he has definitely lived up to his reputation of being a madman."

Strapping Young Lad - _Heavy As a Really Heavy Thing_ (1995)

"Although not a TERRIBLE album, I didn't find enough hooks or interesting parts on this disc to keep me from falling asleep. The vocals here are still very much the typical hardcore yellings, but with an industrial-edged distortion added to them, perhaps in an effort to hide what they really are."

Neurosis - _Through the Silver and Blood_ (1995)

"Amon Amarth are another Swedish band playing the death/black style (Dawn, Naglfar, Dissection), but these guys are a little further to the death side of the genre. They have some nice ideas, but aren't really outstanding."

Amon Amarth - _Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds_ (1995)

"Six words: 'I waited five years for this?'

Metallica: _Load_ (1996)

"The Satanic mumbo-jumbo that's all over this album is damn stale stuff by now. Look: there's nothing particularly courageous or rebellious about copping the -exact- same image and attitude as five hundred other, similar-sounding bands. And if by chance Gorgoroth (or whatever band) actually believes all this stuff - well, good for them, but I've got no use for medieval religion. This is 1996, not 1346. Why am I teeing off on Gorgoroth in particular here? Because the music on this mini-CD (the band's second) is simply some of the best extreme metal I've ever heard - but in terms of lyrics and imagery it's bogged way down in all these tired old cliches."

Gorgoroth - _Antichrist_ (1996)

"Godly. This is without a doubt some of the most intense music I've ever heard. Fans of grinding death, your ship has come in, and its name is Cryptopsy."

Cryptopsy - _None So Vile_ (1997)

"Like guitar and voice, the synths are quite organic in tone, usually approximating the sounds of distant, echoing horns or strings, yet with an unmistakably unearthly vibe."

Summoning - _Dol Guldur_ (1996)

"The record is an assorted musical melding pot with ample amounts of rock, '80s-era metal music and progressive metal all rolled into one. Reminiscent of a more rock-oriented Manowar-meets-Megadeth."

The Lord Weird Slough Feg - _The Lord Wierd Slough Feg_ (1996)

At the moment, Chronicles of Chaos has on its servers over 6000 album reviews for records published from 1995-2015. This does not count the number of demos, interviews, concert reviews, articles, and editorials stored in already full vaults. The beginning set of quotes from the staff of Chronicles of Chaos on now noteworthy records was done not as a criticism or praise for anyone's work. This introduction was to highlight the world in which one person reviews new records.

There is a tendency to look back on reviews and scoff at unexcited critics for a now famous piece of art which blossomed over the decades. I remember reading a dismissive 1990 review for "Goodfellas" in which Stanley Kauffman exclaimed: "Often, in many arts, fresh treatment can redeem familiar subjects, but it doesn't happen here." I believe I saw that quote in a blog collecting critic reviews on now famous films. This humour and ridicule is directed at critics and their inability to discern quality, thus further building a case against criticism as a valid form of analysis.

What I have learned in my short years of reviewing records is the inability to predict the future. New records come at the precipice of the unknown and critics, despite their best guesses, can never predict the path they will take. It is of course funny to read Rolling Stone writer Robert Christgau's dismissive review on Black Sabbath's debut as "the worst of the counterculture on a plastic platter -- bullshit necromancy, drug-impaired reaction time, long solos, everything", or any other of his reviews on now famous and household names. What people fail to realize is that history insulates some art while leaving others to the cold of the forgotten. Black Sabbath probably did sound like "bullshit necromancy" at the time, and every one of these above quotes was probably indicative of the thoughts and feelings of the reviewer. It is impossible to see whether or not objects, at their release, will soar above clouds or sink three feet from where they entered the water.

I was sad to hear the passing of the site after 20 years on the Internet. It still fascinates me that this site has been continually operating, in somewhat lagging fashion, for 20 years. Chronicles of Chaos has been operating without ads, social media presence, or paid staff. I remember talking with one of the editors, Gino, at a festival about the possibility of entering into the world of social media. I was excited that the site had existed as a text only and we could possibly use that as a selling point in a world filled with low quality and flashy content. To mild amusement he mulled it over but eventually went back to whatever band was on the stage. I can not say I blame him. this site has existed as a digital zine for the past 20 years and perhaps has existed this long because of its stubbornness to bow to change or conform to a changing landscape.

Chronicles of Chaos now is a pristine library of record reviews which sits marooned on an island, safe from the passing waves of time. It was the site which allowed me to begin reviewing records, a passion which has only grown while the site faded. My only hope is that these sandy doors stay at least open for a little bit longer for future generations to come in from the sun and browse in darkness.

(article submitted 12/8/2015)

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All opinions expressed in Chronicles of Chaos are opinions held at the time of writing by the individuals expressing them.
They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else, past or present.