19 Apr 2016

Black Chalice: "Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour"

Perhaps a bit too esoterical for its own good
Today we revisit Patrick Hasson's Black Chalice. The last review - of the Black Chalice 2011 demo Years of Flame - yielded a 6/10 score, and now the time has come to get acquainted with the Maine one-man project's debut demo, Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour - Unleashed upon mainkind earlier in 2011. As mentioned in earlier reviews, Hasson is a busy man, also being involved in the black metal outing Auspicium.

Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour carries significant weight through bassy, droning guitars rumbles, but also bears noticable hints of mystical black metal arrangements and passages reminiscent of certain funeral doom metal bands in the compositions' long-winded dispositions. Lengthy passages with simple variations form the backbone of Black Chalice's music, from which gnarly appendages of experimentation protrude.

"Though Black Chalice has momentum, there is no impact."

Though Hasson has been musically active with numerous projects before the creation of Black Chalice, this debut demo does have a feeling of uncertainty about it. While the slow, grinding arrangements are sure at their base, it feels as though Hasson at this point isn't sure what to build on top of it, leaving the demo as empty, wobbly framework with too little meat on it. This doubt does allow for a few surprises here and there, but overall the overly-distorted guitar tracks - whether tremolo-picked or chugging - and simple, unvaried drums lack the intensity that is necessary to reach critical mass when there are little to no melodies to catch the eye. Though Black Chalice has momentum, there is no impact.

By the end of the demo Black Chalice has been unsurely shifting from one standpoint to the other, never really making any decisition. It all feels a bit uncultivated, like a prototype or referencepoint for future endeavours. If you've had the chance to listen to more recent incarnations of Hasson's project, there is little reason to revisit this early point other than wanting to explore the band's musical origins. In retrospect it is, however, easy to see how the band moved from this gritty, heavily distorted sound and basic arrangements to its newer, more ripened state.


Released in 2011 independently

Black Chalice on FACEBOOK
Black Chalice on BANDCAMP

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