Chaos Order's sound is dominated by short, grinding guitar blasts and staccato drumwork (reminiscent of Fear Factory), with no bass at all. At first I thought the bass was merely poorly mixed--and indeed, there is room for improvement in the mixing: the drums could use more emphasis. With no actual recording info included with the demo or at their website, it was only after reading one of the band's blog entries that I was able to confirm that no bass track was used. Whether or not seasoned (Rotting Corpse, Blackmilk, Brewish, Ironhead, Starvin Marvin, Stone Groove) bassist Marc Salas was part of the group at that point I don't know: the band's bio consists only of the musical description quoted above. Regardless, the absence of any bass certainly makes the music harsher and less fluid, which may have been the intention. But it also diminishes the music's dimensions and texture.
The opening track, "Corundum," starts with a sampling of dialogue from, I believe, the movie "Big Trouble in Little China," sort of echoing the band's manifesto quoted above with the statement "Finally, we shall bring order out of chaos." "Corundum" then proceeds to live up to its name by abrading the ears with grinding vocals and guitar, and an overtly jerky beat. There's a slight groove in the jabbing opening riff, but most of the guitarwork is as stuttering as the drum blasts. The middle track, C.H.A.O.S., is rather basic thrash, ending with a nice though not especially inventive breakdown. What does distinguish this song is a weird video-game-style guitar solo, coming out of nowhere but somehow fitting the song, as well as adding some texture and an effective change of pace. This is the kind of thing Chaos Order should do more often--or maybe do WELL more often. A similar, but much less successful attempt is made in the closing song, "Replicant," with a sort of spanish-guitar-sounding solo midway through. Although well played, it doesn't seem to work here and is awkwardly initiated. I also have problems with this song's stumbling beat, which to me sounds simplistic and spastic rather than stimulatingly edgy.
There's nothing wrong with producing a harsh, discordant sound, of course, and although my own tastes in aural brutality lie elsewhere, I'm sure there are those who might find this demo appealing just for the grind. The sampling I've done in music of this type, however, indicates that many aficionados would welcome some more freshness, texture, and groove. Reactions amongst Pantera fans might be mixed, also, because of the vocalist's similarity to Anselmo, which for some could be a distraction. A different singer and a dynamic bass presence could make a huge difference in Chaos Order's sound. Attempts to hear a sample of the new vocalist, James Simpson, were unsuccessful, and the (not yet released) full length they recorded (with bass) earlier this year evidently features the same singer heard on the demo. It is to be expected, though, that the band will display some musical growth in this new material, and the addition of bass should affect their sound in a positive way. As one of Chaos Order's guitarists said in an early forum post, anticipating the arrival of a then-unnamed bass player, the bass "will open up a lot of other possibilities with the guitars and rhythms. Our sound will definately [sic] change.. and it will be for the better!" That attitude alone is a good sign.
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