|Musical Style: Heavy Metal||Produced By: Oz Fox|
|Record Label: SurfMetal||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2014||Artist Website: Chaotic Resemblance|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 40:20|
Mention the terms ‘hair band’ or ‘glam’ while referencing the eighties metal scene, and chances are there will be an automatic response: Someone will shout out Warrant, or Poison, or Stryper, or Skid Row, or Motley Crue, or perhaps even Bon Jovi. Inevitably, new school modern hair metal bands not nearly as popular or well-known but no less musically relevant are spoken of as well: Black Veil Brides, Hardcore Superstar, Gemini Five, Crazy Lixx, Desyre and Chaotic Resemblance. Hailing from Poteua, Oklahoma and founded in 2006 by vocalist Rexx Roxx, Chaotic Resemblance has gotten off to a strong start with a pair of EP releases to its credit, Chaotic Resemblance (2012) and Battle Lines (2013), in addition to its summer of 2014 Oz Fox (Stryper) produced full-length debut Get The Hell Out.
Chaotic Resemblance, drawing its moniker from Isaiah 40:18 (To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will you compare unto him?), believes that “No matter how good of Christians we are, we would never be more than a ‘chaotic resemblance’ of Christ”. Hence, the bands motives to “shine the light of Jesus to a hurting world” and corresponding willingness as “sold out Christians devoted to Jesus” to “play anywhere from a bar to a church”. The Chaotic Resemblance press material sums things up best: “Today's world is full of so much hate, lies & deceit. We offer love and hope through rock 'n roll.”
Musically, Chaotic Resemblance describes itself as “high intensity (and) in your face metal” that can be compared to “an out of control freight train coming at you a million miles an hour”. The immediate impression left by Get The Hell Out is a youthful and energetic joining of hair, glam and melodic metal I see appealing to fans of any of the groups previously noted. Beyond that what I also hear are strong doses of late eighties Sunset Strip influenced hard rock not unlike Faster Pussycat, Hanoi Rocks, Kix, Junkyard and LA Guns (Main Line Riders and Bombs Over Broadway era Squad 5-O deserve mention from the Christian side of the fence). The hooks, image and attitude are in place to warrant such comparison.
It starts with talented front man Rexx Roxx, who brings an intense and impassioned style rooted in ample doses of grit and gravel but without coming across abrasive in the process. It works in lending to the groups heaviness and aggression overall- it becomes apparent on repeat listen that Chaotic Resemblance (much to its credit) is not going for a highly polished or commercial sound. This best manifests itself on opening track “Invade” with its vigorous guitar walls, double kick drum penchant and shouted (almost punk-like) backing vocals. Every bit angst-laden is “Get The Hell Out’, unabashed with its muscular mid-paced demeanor and contentious refrain in which that youthful energy makes its presence felt.
Characteristic of both is the group’s affinity for understated catchy hooks. Some have said in reference to Chaotic Resemblance that ‘they just haven't mastered the power of the big hook. You've got to have a hook with this type of metal for people to love it.’ I find this a misnomer in that my experience has been you need to give Chaotic Resemblance four or five listens (minimum) to allow those hooks in question to stand out. In other words, Chaotic Resemblance is not a group you can hear a couple times on cheap computer speakers before you can arrive at an accurate conclusion. Further, keep in mind the band is not necessarily imbuing its material with a great deal of commercial elements to begin with, which requires further patience.
Maintaining the aggression is “Candy Land”, intensely driven front to back with guitars slamming in and out of the mix and reverberant bottom heavy disposition holding sway, and “The Cost”, digging and biting with its hard charging low end, while exuding a menacing feel that brings to mind old school Bride. Of note is how the ripping guitar leads of L/A Ellis stands out on the former and heavy hitting drummer of Zak Fury the latter. “Greatest Show Alive”, in my opinion albums best track, reminds of Impellitteri with its all out heaviness and awesome catchy riffs- not to mention the bands technical prowess throughout (the bluesy instrumental moments particularly shine). These three reveal that there is more to Chaotic Resemblance than ‘hair’ and ‘glam’ metal in that the group brings the muscle I see potentially drawing in those whose tastes trends towards traditional metal territory.
Proving that it is not a one-dimensional slugger, Chaotic Resemblance can also deliver a song rooted heavily in melody. “Son Of Man” stands out in this capacity with its commercial milieu, amalgamating a wonderfully catchy chorus (almost with a radio friendly feel) with pumping bass lines and Roxx’s complementary lower register vocal performance. Of note is how Oz Fox contributes cowbell to the song. Speaking of which, Oz also handles lead guitar on bluesy ballad “Star”, heartfelt and soulful in capacity with its rich acoustic flavorings and organ decorating the backdrop. Am I out of line to suggest a hint of Black Crowes can be found? “Sin” maintains the bluesy underpinnings but in a more straightforward metal package in cruising its length to a swarthy and haunting aura with another engaging chorus playing a defining role. Ellis maintains his bluesy lead guitar presence.
A step below the albums best are “Don’t Walk Away” and “Super Hero”, a pair of medium to good mid-paced heavy hitters with slogging guitars to spare and no-nonsense mentalities holding sway. Characteristic to the two are shouted punk-like backing vocals (noting the earlier Squad 5-O reference). My least favorite is closer “War Paint”, a somewhat non-descript and basic track (at least in compared to the better material here) I never warmed up to with repeat listen. Those that complain about the Get The Hell Out material lacking hooks have a potential argument with this one.
Give credit to produce Oz Fox for not remaking Chaotic Resemblance in his own image. It would have been easy of him, for instance, to water the group down with so much Stryper-like glitz and polish as to make Get The Hell out next to unlistenable. Rather, Oz succeeds laudably in capturing the true Chaotic Resemblance sound: Slightly raw (in highlighting just enough polish but not to the point of overdoing it) but always energetic in giving rise to a full on heaviness (and exuding a bit more muscle than what we are used to from the hair metal genre). Production represents a strong point as a result.
Lyrics reflect the group’s aforementioned motives to “shine the light of Jesus to a hurting world”. In other words, ministry is the purpose and goal of Chaotic Resemblance, as aptly attested on “Son Of Man”: If you’re blood bought and delivered. If your down broken and bruised. It’s your choice. It’s time to choose. You see we all have to pick a path. The straight and narrow. Or the wide and broad. Cast all your cares, take up the cross. The same can be said of “The Cost”: But You took the nails, and You carried the Cross. Bore my shame and filth. You paid the Cost. How can this be? Do You really love me? Daily I will die, so my fate will be sealed on high.
In similar fashion, “Don’t Walk Alone” touches upon Psalm 23 (Something real. Something true. Something that won’t ever leave you. You’ll search a thousand years trying to avoid running into your fears. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I know I am not alone. You have my back) and “Get The Hell Out” spiritual warfare (It’s time Church arise. Cut the head off the enemies lies. Never back down. Don’t every break. In this fight Heaven’s at stake. We won’t kneel. We wont bow to any other god but Ours. Above approach, straight-edged men. Killer our flesh we die to sin).
Get The Hell Out stands out as a promising debut full length from a young band in Chaotic Resemblance with a bright future. I appreciate the bands heavier take on the hair and glam metal genre, with the hooks in its material understated but present nonetheless (as already noted the album takes several listens before it will grow on you). It is equally important to reinforce how producer Oz Fox understands the group’s true sound in this capacity and brings it out accordingly. I am looking forward to hearing more from Chaotic Resemblance down the road.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Invade” (4:00), “Get The Hell Out” (3:52), “Son Of Man” (3:37), “Candy Land” (3:38), “Star” (3:50), “Don’t Walk Alone” (3:28), “The Cost” (3:34), “Super Hero” (3:10), “Greatest Show Alive” (3:53), “Sin” (4:06), “War Paint” (3:12)
Rexx Roxx - Lead Vocals & Bass
L/A Ellis - Guitars
Zak Fury - Drums
Oz Fox - Lead Guitar & Cowbell
Sam McCaslin - Keyboards