|Review: Chaos Factory - Horizon|
Label: Underground Symphony
Year released: 2019
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Review online: July 12, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3/5 (60%) (2 Votes)
I could have guessed this band was from Italy just by the nature of the neo-classical guitar solos, power/prog songwriting and orchestral flourished throughout their debut double album, Horizon. Let me get this out of the way up front and say that while this is apparently a new band, the musicians in Chaos Factory know their way around their instruments and everything sounds sharp and clean. As for Horizon, it is a monumental work, in subject matter (humans and our nature) as well as length, lasting over 75 minutes. The first half (album, disc, depends on your format) is typical but enjoyable Italian power metal, bombastic and florid with huge, sweeping passages that take you up and down an emotional roller coaster. The second half finds Chaos Factory pushing the boundaries of metal by bringing in progressive rock, world beats, children's voices ("Running Wild") and even electronic music ("In the Depths of the Void"). They've brought in voice actor Luca Ward, who provided the Italian dubbing for Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, etc., to handle the spoken-word portions. As I said, this is a monumental work that covers a lot of ground. Too much. It's no secret I'm of the opinion that albums can be too long, and Horizon is my new poster child. There are some good songs on the album, nothing amazing or paradigm shifting but they get lost in the cornucopia of other things going on, some of which don't feel that cohesive with the rest of the album. This children's voices would be fine on a Paul Simon or Peter Gabriel album but here they are weirdly out of place. The spoken word pieces, of which there are a few, are long, like several minutes long. And they are in Italian, which is fine if you speak that language but for the rest of us, there's 10+ minutes of Horizon that is just some guy talking, saying words we don't understand. These things cause the flow of the album to get bogged down and sidetracked in several spots, not something bands strive for as a rule.
If your tastes run in a "the more complex and convoluted, the better" direction, this album is going to have a lot for you to enjoy unpacking. I believe there is quality here for those fans. For me, the ponderous length is a major hindrance to the enjoyment of what Chaos Factory might be accomplishing musically and in the area of expanding the limits of what is considered heavy metal.
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