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Black Chapel in Los Angeles

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 8:37 PM


Live at Safari Sam’s

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In the so-called extreme metal genre there are only a few up and coming acts that stand out amongst the multitude of jading bands that are new, yet they all seem to sound the same. So, when you hear the buzz about a band that is out for blood and out to change the world with its otherworldly talent and pummeling brand of this or that, you tend to be a bit skeptical, right?

Despite your ever-waning optimism, however, you get in the car and go down to the club and check it out anyway, right? Besides, you never know what the night has in store.

Last Friday night, at an unlikely venue to withstand the sonic bludgeoning which took place for about a half an hour, a four-piece mob known as Black Chapel gave a performance that was unbelievable. Un-ba-fuckin-leeva-bulllll! Imagine a concoction of scathing thrash and death metal with progressive elements, and then you have only a limited description of this band’s sound. The likeness of Dream Theater is very apparent in the instrumentals, particularly with the keyboard/synth sound. The material is extremely metal and embodies a certain kind of technical ecstasy rarely heard in today’s thrash/prog hybrids.

The band nearly tore the lid off Safari Sam’s, and the joint probably took some seismic damage due to the loudness and unrelenting intensity at which these fuckers played that night. Moments after Black Chapel had taken the stage you could envision them playing a much bigger venue. The titanic sound of this band, though well contained in the small club, really needs to be unharnessed to run wild in a stadium or arena.

Singer/guitarist Jose P. delivered the vocals with a murderous rage while ripping Peterucci-esque guitar licks with radical aplomb. He moved around as a metal- thrashing madman, not a gingerly tiptoe through the tulips minstrel. Marco V. is a drummer’s drummer and a non-drummer’s reason to become a drummer. Watching him attack the drums was the highlight of the evening, way above the circle de so gay pit that a couple plaid-wearing, peroxide blonde sissies started during the second or third song. With all the technical prowess of a modern rock drummer, combined with the power of a John Henry Bonham, Marco V. is sure to draw widespread attention. The music these guys play is more about dragons, fire, blood and explosions, nothing that mystical, ponderous, or too far away. (Just putting that out there, since the words prog, progressive, and keyboards were mentioned…and tulips.)

To say Black Chapel has the potential to be great is preposterous. They’ve already arrived and are ready to go abroad and be heard by the masses. But making a fanbase by playing small clubs and blowing the minds of one-hundred people a night is an honest and “progressive” way of playing it…at least for now. Get in the car—walk if you have to—and go see this band.

SETLIST

  • Dissecting the Mind
  • Insanity
  • Exhumed
  • Sands of Time
  • Frozen
  • Scene of Hate



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