My very first “official” review for this website was for the demo of a little known Australian black metal band called Chemical Cascades. Last month, the Brisbane weirdos finally made good on their promise to deliver a unique full-length and to capitalize on the momentum built behind their demo. You can and should stream Time Worn Ether now.
I haven’t had as much time to meditate on the nuances of this particular trip, so I’ll be holding off from assigning Time Worn Ether a review score at the moment. What I can tell you, though, is that this band has improved on nearly every aspect that made the 2013 demo great. Don’t believe me? Jam that demo again below before streaming the new album at the bottom.
In my original review, I praised the band’s musicianship, especially noting the way that both the guitars and drums were able to seamlessly transition between styles, always delivering hallucinogenic riffs and mind-altering rhythms. You can expect that same quality performance from the new release in addition to much more. Where the demo was content to mostly remain in the confines of psychedelic black metal, Time Worn Ether finds Chemical Cascades experimenting with a whole range of different genres and finding a potent cocktail of psychotic tunes that always manages to sound right even when the songs themselves are so different.
“Ancient Tombs of the Martian King” and “Ice Caves of Tradekt” are tribal doom numbers that sound like natives from another planet making quite the ruckus while strung out on ayahuasca. “Arcturian Necromancy” is a faster, thrashier romp through the psychic tundra, and “Randulf”, the longest jam on the album, is a black metal rocket blasting you straight through the stratosphere. The riffs keep coming as the album winds down, ending with the strongest vocal performance on the whole record appearing on “Universal Veil”.
Overall, it’s a fascinating and dynamic listen that maintains your buzz and holds your attention through the entire ride. Sadly, my note regarding the vocals on “Universal Veil” reveals one of the only faults I can find on the album. My previous review highlighted the tormented, chaotic shrieks as one of the major selling points. Sadly, the vocal approach is dialed back significantly on Time Worn Ether. What growling/shrieking that is present is most often pushed to the back of the mix, providing only a bit of texture for the excellent instrumental approach. It isn’t a bad idea from an atmospheric standpoint, but I honestly miss the more harrowing vocals from the previous release.
Still, the music on Time Worn Ether is fantastic, and you should definitely give it a listen, even if it’s just to hear what essentially amounts to an instrumental album. Chemical Cascades have concocted an intoxicating mixture of black metal and doom, one fans of either genre are sure to enjoy.