Chaos Invocation – Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond (2018) REVIEW

In the throes of oppressively bleak nihilistic conjurations of imaginative guitar work, within occultist black metal orthodoxy, Chaos Invocation have long offered a warmed-over, earthen core at the center of their storm drain spiraling allure. Their third full-length in fourteen years is undeniably epic, inspirational, and successfully ambitious. Where Watain ventured beyond chaos-gnostic Dissection-isms and became self-conscious enough to return to their roots, Chaos Invocation dives guitar first into the Bathory and Ophthalamia-licked chalices of adventurous melodic blackness. ‘Reaping Seasons, Bloodshed Beyond’ is a fantastic peak for occult black metal in early 2018.

The ultimate skinning of Satyricon‘s ‘Nemesis Divina’ makes a fine leather carapace for the structural ethos of ‘Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond’ and the melodic underpinnings of the classics seep through Chaos Invocation‘s guitar-driven black metal sharpness more than ever. Though you might be wondering how that’d be any different than their previous album ‘Black Mirror Hours’, the differences all center around overall tonal range and influence. I felt like ‘Black Mirror Hours’ took more from early Rotting Christ and Taake in terms of melodic inspiration whereas ‘Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond’ stretches further outside of expectations while retaining the orthodox second wave black metal spirit conjured.

The use of almost doom metal tuned clean vocals throughout makes a light argument for inherently progressive experimentation and Chaos Invocation becomes increasingly confident in theses sections across the nearly full hour of music here. “The Search of Keys and Gates” is particularly strong in terms of clean vocal integration but it’s follow-up “Blackmoon Prayer” is easily one of my favorite unexpected moments of the year. It absolutely serves as a peak for both lead guitar work and vocal variation on an already stunning record. If you felt like Watain played it safe on their latest record, this should be refreshingly bold and similarly inspired. Not only has the band topped the already brilliant ‘Black Mirror Hours’ but these new rituals have highlighted 2018 with a commendably emotive and immersive black metal album.


Artist Chaos Invocation
Type Album
Released March 10, 2018
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A dangerous but blissful gateway. 4.0/5.0

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