Album Review

Chryst – “Phantasmachronica” – [Omniversal]

Thurston Hunger   3/7/2015   A Library, CD

Jesus Chryst, Niederwieser? Christof N. rises from the Austrian
ashes of Korova in 2011 to release this thistly epistle. On
the release, Niederwieser is omnipresent, singing in voices
(thank a deity for the variety!), triggering manic drum
drills, bass chord minor scale worship, and invoking that most
terrifying sound of all, children’s toy pianos *and* brace
yourself, children’s voices. Even as a breeder, the end of
“Templum Tempus” is creepy (the melodica operated via iron lung
is a bonus). I’m not up with all the Beneton colors of metal,
but the use of organ on here is an artful orange (sorry
blackened purists). Also, I’m not entirely sure what the crux
of his PhantasmaChronica is, but mercifully it doesn’t appear
to be a cross, inverted or otherwise. Halle-fuckin-luliah! The
lyrics might be cobbled from the dream of a Burning Man convert
to radical tech capitalism (his passion rivals the mission statement
of the most bold social engineering startups, sure a new world, why
not). I’m not saying the lyrics are unimportant (well that Golem
guest vocal laugh-gasping “IRU” on the second track almost put
me in an ICU staffed by muppets) but the bold theatrical
musicality of this is undeniable, and juxtaposing the now
de riguer rigor of cookie monster vocals with other loony
crooning and swelling choruses made a huge difference to
this agnostic asshole’s ears. Niederwieser’s themes reprised
(dig the timpani and xylophonic intro to “The Surge Lands”).
A lot of people could get into this, including Yes fans and
clowns who’ve lost faith in the circus, hey their face paint
can come in handy lining up outside “The Drill-Tower.” All
songs track, so while you might not sacrifice your soul to
Chryst, you might sacrifice your show to his song cycle for
a while. It’s a cohesive, creative album.

-Thurston Hunger

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