Chaos Frame – Entropy (Pure Steel Records)Monday, 27th June 2022
It’s always a welcoming experience to chart the evolution of an act previously gaining coverage for this site to see development and growth. Seven years removed from last album Paths to Exile, Chaos Frame emerges in a new set of circumstances with a slight lineup shift for this third album Entropy. Continually taking a power/progressive metal platform into diverse landscapes as they add outside influences to the table as they twist things into a unique style, latest acquisition Andrew Julkowski also distinguishes these eight tracks with a bit more modern/electronic-oriented texture beyond his natural proficiency at the kit.
The driving force in terms of songwriting takes shape with guitarist/bassist Matt Hodsdon and fellow guitarist Andy Xiong. Pulling out sophisticated licks plus driving rhythm support of a progressive manner for the appropriately named “Skyscraper”, while dialing in catchy clean lines with dotted notation a la Rush or Porcupine Tree for the almost nine-minute “Always Looking Down”, gaining momentum to an electric propulsion of tradeoffs, harmony positioning, and general heightened excitement over this epic arrangement. Andrew’s wide array of tricks comes to the forefront on “To Reap and Never Sow” – groove-oriented, off-time transitions abundant, as well as an added blackened/blasting sequence during some high tremolo runs for the second half instrumental passage. Guest appearances take shape with Spheric Universe Experience’s Fred Colombo providing jazzy piano combinations a la Toto during the restrained “The Late Goodbye”, while Jonah Robertson adds his harsh growls for the semi-melodic death oriented “Voluntary Extinction” number.
Most listeners will know there’s a mix of Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater, and Symphony X ideas swirling about – but there’s also that additional heavier and lighter balance throwing into the mix to keep Chaos Frame sharp and on your toes. Add in the stellar vocal range and knowledgeable harmony positioning of vocalist Dave Brown (check out the initial verses of “The Timepiece Shatters (Entropy Part 1)” and soaring eagle high notes that lift “Solaire” to premiere status) and you have a fairly quick hitting record for this genre in a tidy 43 minutes and change format. There may be a decent time break between records, but quality trumps all – and in the case of Entropy for Chaos Frame, this is another elevation in the craft of blending together melodies, hooks, harmonies, and incredible musicianship that should appease all who love progressive/power metal.