The Order Of Chaos was written and produced by Beholder with one promised intent. It delivers on that promise.
I am loathe to mention it, but feel I should. Readers may or may not be aware that vocalist Simon Hall is of course, a Bloodstock employee. This might, in some website or reviewer instances, mean that an arse licking, generically good review is written for fear of repercussions (a ridiculous fear, as the band is completely separate from Bloodstock Festival and the band wouldn’t be that fucking petty). I can however tell you now, that my review is 100% objective and not based on anything but the music. Challenge me on this at your peril. If an album is shit, I will not do a review, even if it was by the God Grohl himself.
Opening with the distant sound of sirens and dropping into an almost Floyd-esque sounding spoken passage through a 1930s megaphone reminiscent of “The Wall”, it soon makes way for the groove backed guitar chuggery that is ‘Black Flag’. What strikes immediately with this first track is that the chorus is one that you can see yourself holding aloft your pint whilst your head swings decisively from side to side as Simon Hall, frontman, belts out the lyrics with more than a touch of Chuck Billy and James Hetfield, albeit more melodic. A fine opener to prepare your earbuds for what is to come.
Tracks 2 to 12 seem to fly by, with over an hour of metal contained within, this is quite a feat. Beholder without exception, have nailed the “song intro” on every track on ‘The Order Of Chaos’ along with merging good honest NWOBHM influence with Hall’s pebbledash machine of a vocal and interesting and meaningful guitar solos and breakdowns. Everyone knows I love me a good chuggy guitar, and this album has them by the skipload.
It has a load of everything actually, filling your boots with options to pit, sway, chant, sing along, raise those horns, pump those fists, nod your head, grit your teeth and jump around like a kangaroo on crystal meth.
Thematically, each track is pure, unadulterated disgust fuelled vitriol aimed at the Countries leaders and power hungry corrupt, nothing in the lyrics is left to the imagination. On more than one occasion when listening whilst reading the lyrics, I felt my top lip rising into an understanding snarl. Musically everything feels polished yet raw, and destructive yet uplifting. Lyrically, Hall was out for the kill.
There are no fillers on this album, you get your money’s worth, that’s for sure. Stand out tracks for me are ‘Morphine Serenity’; with its melancholic melody and gorgeous guitar lines overlaid with clean singing showcasing Hall’s ability, and vocal harmonies backed up with drums that I found myself failing to mimic. I could say the same about all the drumming on the album actually, you’re fucked if you want to air drum unless you have arms and legs of steel. ‘Liar’ brings passion, anger, an incredibly addictive hooky chorus and a definite ability to create a pit with chants of “No More!” and “We’re sick to the teeth of your…. fucking lies” This for me, is the ‘live’ track of the album.
‘Toxic Nation’ is an all out snarling assault, no fucking messing about on this track, no cuddling, no slow build up, it grabs you by the bollocks and bludgeons you mercilessly, leaving you feeling violated and breathless. ‘Out Of Ashes’, a sorrowful semi-instrumental, a real beauty of a piece (that I would personally like to see extended into a longer track) with a recorded political speech at it’s end was perfectly placed to follow the prior aural battering of ‘Toxic Nation’.
‘This Blackened Earth’ is a really intelligent sounding progressive piece, with yet another gorgeous intro (Beholder should start charging bands to create their intro’s) This almost ethereal intro leads into a dark and lip curling proggy track, I found myself caught up in this one quite substantially and it went on repeat a good few times. A few listens are required to truly ‘get it’, but when you do, you really do ‘get it’.
A fitting closing track to what is an undeniably impressive, carefully produced, metal as fuck sophomore album that will contain something for everyone to enjoy. At times mournful, at times incredibly violent, ‘The Order Of Chaos’ delivers 12 tracks of unbridled, unglorified passion, this isn’t an album that could be faked; you cannot fail to come away from this feeling the inherent emotional charge.
To succinctly summarise, The Order Of Chaos could be the album equivalent of a soundtrack to a British uprising, it is also an hour long dose of finely honed British brutality from start to finish; akin to being lovingly Donkey Punched by Lennox Lewis.
But you’d shake his hand afterwards.
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1. BLACK FLAG – 7/10
2. PROFIT OF THE LIE – 7/10
3. HERE I STAND – 8/10
4. SPLINTER – 7/10
5. THE TALE OF ELEANOR GREY – 7/10
6. KILLING MACHINE – 7/10
7. MORPHINE SERENITY – 8/10
8. LIAR – 9/10
9. TOXIC NATION – 8/10
10. OUT OF ASHES (INSTRUMENTAL) – 9/10
11. FOOTPRINTS – 7/10
12. THIS BLACKENED EARTH – 8/10