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CHTON
CHTON
Chtonian Lifecode
(Retribute Records)
42:46min

It's always a pleasure to see that Norway's underground has always something more to offer than just your standard Black / Viking or Gothic Metal band. This time it pukes out a dark brutal Death Metal squad called CHTON (pronounced K-Ton) which saw its dark light of day in the beginning of the new millenium. This horde might not be unknown to some of our Voices readers as we featured this five piece already on our site (see interview section for details) and one member is also a part of the wellknown act MANES. "Chtonian Lifecode" is the debut album after having released a split tape (their 2 track promo 2002 reissued) together with Polish Death Metal outfit SUPREME LORD in 2003 and a rehearsal entitled "First Blood" (2002). After the disc had made some rotations in my CD player it left me back first with some mixed feelings. They try to find a blend between old school Death Metal and the precision led extremity of today's Death Metal. The keyword for the band seems to be variation as they try to combine a lot of elements in their songs. Nothing wrong with that but I really had a very hard time to get into the stuff in the beginning as some parts are a bit cumbrous. For example the opener 'Invitation To Hell' starts with an uptempo part, changing into a twisted guitar rhythm and this made the listening to the whole thing a bit stressful. On the other hand you have some stronger songs here like 'Book Of Black Earth', 'Unholy Communion' or 'Chtonian Lifecode' where the band delivers some excellent old school riffs and quite well executed songs (reminding me sometimes on Morbid Angel - just as hint). Of course these 5 nordmen are excellent and competent musicians but they should not try by hook or by crook to sound technical (less is sometimes more)... just let the metal hammer rule. I do also think that their strength is in the slower / midtempo section. A positive aspect is the raw, unpolished but good production of the album which was recorded at Godt Selskap studios and supports the intented sinister / dark atmosphere. Also vocalist Terje does a good job. His raw vocal performance fits perfectly to the dark alloy of Death Metal. Summary: "Chtonian Lifecode" is a good start for a debut album (even I can not listen to it everyday). But they have to provide more ass kicking songs in the future and gather all their strengths (maybe a MCD had been better?). As I said before this band has talent and potential but they are just one of thousands at the moment on an overcrowded market and it will become hard to earn a piece of the Metal cake. I just can recommend you to have a listen and make up your own mind. So its up to our listeners. Contact: Retribute Records at www.retributerecords.com or the band at www.chton.com.

Michael Oelschlegel

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