Morning Peninsula based heavies Chasing the Void are relatively fresh to the heavy music scene. The four piece have kicked off things in a big way in 2019, appearing at gigs as support for bands like DREGG, Void Of Vision, and Pridelands. Their self-titled debut releases tomorrow, and Riley (vocals), Lachlan (guitar), Adam (bass), and Mitch (drums) were keen to get our ears on it.
“All Is Lost” is where Chasing the Void begins, with a pretty subdued introduction, before kicking into gear with the arrival of the vocals. With control and a sense of dominance, the vocals are searing over the top of instrumentation that seems somewhat thoughtful. Long held notes affirm a sense of stature and superiority, while the wall of sound continues. The guitar and bass come across as trance-inducing in a way, with a shivery/cold impression from the vocals at times. It’s instrumentally decent, growing steadily and progressively.
The vibe of “All Is Lost” for me was a question of “what is to become of me?”, coming across before I even had the lyrics at hand. Once I had them available to me, it made sense to read the commentary of existing apathetically in a broken world that’s being taken over by dark powers that be. It also seemed fitting to feel not much at all, as well as this sense of numbness.
“I am nothing”
Clean and raw guitar is where “Obsessed With Misery” begins, seeming to promise something dark on the way. I found this approach to opening a song really unusual, especially when the raw instrumentation continued with a static scream over it; kind of like two different identities, one relatively innocent and one dark.
The entire band then rips into ridiculous high speed with sharp vocal slices cutting through the intensity. Sexy bass twangs foreshadow roaring fiery intensity, leading downward into a gutter scraping section of the song. Looped riffs and a steady pace comes across as measured while the song’s ‘story’ is shared vocally.
Despite the fieriness, there’s a sense of steadiness which personally surprised me, expecting wildness along with the deathcore vocal theatrics (for lack of a better word). Brooding deepness that appears within the track comes across like calmly punching someone in the face, and there’s a sense of instrumental focus and head down as the track hits an acceleration point.
What I thought was the end of “Obsessed With Misery” kept unfolding, going between a sense of something upwardly hopeful and a sense of plunging into something darker, accompanied by sky high screaming. A guitar solo shows up at the track’s end, as well as shifts from sparseness to strength.
Once I received the lyrics, it became apparent that “Obsessed With Misery” related to society’s fixation with media coverage of disaster. I understood this as ‘tragedy porn’ fanatics diving in to the latest exclusive coverage of the current horrific incident. It goes into the subsequent way in which this grotesque exposure inspires apathy and coldness within us, as well as the way we become controlled by fear and become easy fodder for spreading darkness.
The EP’s third track “Inside This Hell” is yet another with a thoughtful and light semi-acoustic introduction. I’m not entirely sure what to make of these jam session-esque song starts, nor how they easily fit with the subsequent leap into peaks of deathcore intensity that immediately follow.
“Inside This Hell” seems like a guitar showcase; darting back and forth as well as demonstrating complexity. The track also highlights the vocals too, and it’s impressively done, but I found that I kept wanting to feel congruence as to what inspired the choices for what was being done musically, rather than just demonstrating technique. There’s a heck of a lot going on musically and I personally found it hard to find grounding, understanding, or meaning, and my interest was unfortunately lost. It’s a bombardment but not necessarily an emotion one, and I wanted to feel something in response to these songs. Once I had my hands on the lyrics, I understood it as basically saying “life is hell with no escape”. I guess if there’s a state in which one feels nothing at all, (even if they wish they could) then that would be it.
I enjoyed the rhythms and pace of fourth track “Something You Can’t See” from the outset, as well as the soaring guitar. With a change of pace at the second verse, it seemed bizarrely comfortable for something that’s telling someone what a failure they are. For me this song carried the most interest throughout, due to the twists and turns, switching of gears, layers of sound, and impressive instrumentation.
As might be guessed from the title, the track points a finger toward those who believe in God; questioning that choice, and outlining an inevitable end in the clutches of the devil (whose perspective the song seems to be through). The second half of the song was a standout for me courtesy of the bass in particular, yet I wasn’t entirely sure what was behind the choice to end the track on a sparse and slow note. Especially given the subject matter and eventual suffering at the hands of the devil.
The EP’s final track is “God Of War”, which was previously released as a single. Intricate and echoing guitar sets an immediate tone for the track, before voice and drum intensity add to the punishing and lengthy intro. The track is steady and strong as it tells a story about Greek mythology, with searing guitar overlaid.
I appreciate the guitar work in general on “God Of War” as well as menacing downward stepping sections. There’s also a section of interest where a slow build-up leads into something more expansive and flowing, painted in vocal intensity. There’s no question of musical skill here, but again I don’t personally feel a connection with the story or the song.
For me, this lack of connection is the impression I’m left with from the entirety of the EP. Whether it comes down to my personal listening habits and preferences or not, I appreciate music that hooks into a sense of ‘I have something to say’, and then delivers that via all members of the band. When it comes to a debut EP, there’s perhaps some pressure for a band to prove themselves to the particular scene they’re part of. Vocals in particular come to mind, where reddit users (for one example) will mock a heavy vocalist if they can’t perform particular styles/elements.
Chasing the Void are definitely showing their musical capabilities, but I’d love to be struck more powerfully with the emotion behind the songs. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for this new band.
Chasing the Void prove they're capable musically, and the EP has many moments of high interest backed by their musical prowess.
With some fairly powerful subject matter shared lyrically, I would have loved to feel the force of emotion to go with that (both vocally and instrumentally).