Published on Sunday, 11 October 2015 21:57
Album title: Chaoss [EP]
Release date: 27 September 2015
Label: Swiss Dark Nights
03. The Call
04. The Veil
05. Star In Man
06. Chaoss Part 1
07. Chaoss Part 2
After the quite good debut album, Grimorium, released in May 2014, which enthused with its unpolished vintage occult gothic rock/darkwave atmosphere, the Swiss band Yabanci is back with a new EP featuring seven new tracks. Since the release of debut album the band became a trio as the bassist Lupo left the line-up of Yabanci and mastermind/guitarist Valerio, who's also responsible for most of compositions, took over also his duty. With Chaoss Yabanci presents themselves as a more matured band, both compositional and productional wise. The sound on Chaoss is a bit darker if compared to Grimorium, but that vintage 80s feeling remained untouched, maybe it's even more explicit. The one thing that I miss here is kind of a vivaciousness and sound variations that were present in Yabanci's songs before.
Nevertheless, the band must be credited for rather more clear and deep production. As well it seems that the band is much more focused on what they are doing, the typical gothic/death rock spirit and gothy guitar lines are still there, but Chaoss offers much more of dark wave, cold wave and post-punk elements. The overall ambiance is also a bit more minimalistic, more creepy, the songs got a slower pace. The sound gets its proper density with Laura's powerful evocative and haunting vocal performance. Even though I would be more than satisfied if her way of singing would be a bit less linear, but still with a style that's near to the one of Rosetta Garri from The Spiritual Bat mixed with a bit of Siouxsie Sioux, she does a good job and songs like it's "Coma" are truly addictive. The keys and other electronic elements make wonders sometimes, for example on the post-punkish "The Call" the band reaches kind of gloomy ambiance with those background ambiental wall of sound and makes it much more captivating as it could be otherwise. It's almost impossible to ignore the punk rock attitude of the band and that is perfectly heard on a rather teared up "The Veil".
The guitar riffs are more dominant and ryhthmic line gives sometimes nice danceable, but overall kind of cold melodic patterns. What enthused me the most comes with dark wave atmospheres mixed with traditional gothic rock on "Star In Man". Hypnotic piano touches backened with obscure keys, and a ritualistic vibe together with Laura's dark semi-narrative voice is an example of an 80s inspired yet very fresh and contemporary well made song. But the very best part of this EP is the bewitching atmosphere on "Chaoss Part 1". Such a good combination of cinematic horror dark ambiances and cold wave sound, I believe that it must be inspired by 60s/70s traditional Italian horror movies, but unfortunately it gets ruined by its second part which offers nothing but a typical uninspired post-punk influenced dark wave with poor performance of artificial percussions.
While listening to Chaoss I imagined myself being brought back in time. The whole atmosphere gives a feeling of sitting in a corner of an 80s dark club with smoke-filled air, where a couple of stoned souls are dancing around. All in all, Yabanci did a satisfying job with this EP, but on the other hand I can't deny that I was expecting after their debut album more from them, kind of a progression into more modern gothic rock waters, making more dense songs with much more emphasis on catchiness, flowing rhythms and driving guitar lines. They are certainly capable of that, and if I try to imagine a combination of best things from Grimorium and best parts of Chaoss, with a touch of modern gothic elements, than something exceptional could be born out of that.
Review written by: T.V.