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Track List: 1. World In a Dead End 3:31 2. The Awakening 4:30 3. My Dark Side 5:08 4. The Tomb 4:02 5. Conclusion 4:10 6. Disgrace 4:11 7. Neopolis-1 (inst.) 3:23 8. Hologram Kid 4:41 9. Neopolis-2 3:59 10. Spirits 4:05 11. The Cyb Has a Gun 4:06 12. New Sun 3:24 All music by Drecourt, except 3 & 4: by Drecourt, P. Dabezies. All lyrics: by Drecourt. Line-up: Bertrand Drecourt - guitars; vocals; programming Steve Cheney - bass Jean-Baptiste Poplin - drums Produced by Drecourt. Engineered by INNERCHAOS at "CheapNoiz" studio, France.
Preamble. According to the CD press kit, the French Progressive- / Gothic-Metal band Innerchaos was formed in 1997. "Neopolis" is their debut album.
The Album. There are no traces of Gothic Metal in the music that is presented on "Neopolis". In fact, this is somewhat a cross between the UK's (!) band Cathedral (in their early period), the US band Non-Fiction (Hades's offshoot existed in the first half of the 1990s), both of which were highly influenced by Black Sabbath (circa "Paranoid"), and, partly, Pantera. In other words, the music by Innerchaos represents a proto-progressive Doom-Metal with elements of Thrash, though only seven out of the twelve tracks that are featured on the album are completely about this style. These include - World In a Dead End, The Awakening, My Dark Side, Conclusion, Disgrace, Neopolis-2, and Spirits (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, & 10). Each of them features at least three different vocal themes, all of which are accompanied by strong and diverse riffs of electric guitar. Also, each of the said seven song contains from two to four instrumental parts, one of which is always quite long and, for the most part, consists of contrasting interplay between the slow riffs of rhythm guitar and varied, mid-tempo and fast, solos of lead guitar. The work of the rhythm section often abounds in the odd measures. The album's closing track, New Sun (12) is a nice, yet, simple ballad sung by Bertrand to the accompaniment of rhythms of an acoustic guitar - only. The way of singing of the band's vocalist is quite original, though, at the same time, the vocals are the weakest point of this album. Bertrand has an ordinary voice, which, moreover, is rather powerless. Thus, it hardly fits such a heavy music. On the other hand, he plays excellent electric guitar and, in addition, uses a special pedal to reproduce prepared (previously programmed, to be precise) chords and passages of organ and synthesizer. It also must be mentioned that almost each of the tracks on "Neopolis" has a rich sound, even though there are too few overdubs on the album, which was recorded 'live in a studio' practically as a whole. Most of the instrumental arrangements are here not only highly expressive and inventive, but are also of a rather hypnotic character, which, though, is quite typical for Doom-Metal in general. Also, please note that this music isn't that simple as it may seem after the first listening to the album. The band confidently and successfully work with unusual, kind of limping, movements, some of which, such as those on The Tomb (4) that, marvelously, are full of the atonalities, yet at the same time, sound harmonious, are simply fantastic. Stylistically, this song, as well as both of the instrumental pieces, Neopolis-1 and The Cyb Has a Gun (7 & 11), is about a real progressive Doom-Metal with elements of Techno-Metal. The remaining song, Hologram Kid (8), is the only track on the album, the music of which represents a blend of Progressive Doom-Metal and a guitar-based Art-Rock of a hypnotically atmospheric character. All four of the compositions that I am talking about are undoubtedly the best tracks on "Neopolis". Though my personal favorites are the songs: Hologram Kid and The Tomb, and not instrumental pieces, both of which, nevertheless, are excellent as well.
Summary. Overall, I can't recommend this album to the traditional Prog-Metal lovers, regardless of whether they're into the Classic or Neo manifestation of this genre. As for me, however, I am not into a sugary Neo Prog-Metal at all. Instead, I'd better listen to any kind of a good proto-progressive Metal. From this standpoint, Innerchaos's "Neopolis" is an album, which is really worthy to be heard.
VM: November 20, 2002
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