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Chain Collector - Masquerade - 2005 - Sound Riot Records

Track Listing
1. Hiearchy of Murder (Code of Silence)
2. Harvester
3. Neverwhere
4. And Then There Was None
5. Crusifixion
6. Project Savior
7. Tapping The Vein
8. Fallen Angel
9. Wicked Mask
10. Winter Princess
"Masquerade" is one of my favorite albums of 2005 simply because it understands the importance of hook. Sometimes it can be that simple, no matter how many musical levels or "mature" leadership a band can inject into their song craft. If you don't have the skills or ability to understand hook and melody, then you don't have a chance in many listener's play rotations. I'm not saying that hook is absolutely everything, as good songs need intelligent and sometimes even thought provoking writing, but a good hook is about 90% of what I lean on when it comes to the chopping block. Chain Collector is one of those bands that just gets "it".

Norway's Chain Collector is actually made from members of other bands. Here you will find members of Carpathian Forest, Trail Of Tears, and even Green Carnation. While those bands are all individual and unique, Chain Collector still manages to be a different creation from those bands, with the members obviously using this as an experimental outlet for some other musical avenues. The band released a demo called "Forthcoming Addiction" in 2004, one year after their formation. Now the band has unleashed their debut full-length on Massacre Records in Europe and Sound Riot Records here in the US (distributed by The End Records and Century Media).

"Masquerade" is really a mixture of different styles, at times coming across in much the same way as Soilwork. The guitar tone and riff structures are a bit like modern day Soilwork. The band is a heavy and aggressive, allowing some vocal delivery that is a bit like Vorph from Samael. Using huge, groove laden chops that are both grinding and melodic, Chain Collector achieves that ability to hook the listener and going one step further by mixing in some melodic solos and twin guitar. This band is far from a Gothenburg styled band, but tracks like "Fallen Angel" and "And Then There Was None" have that In Flames sort of aspect to them.

The really interesting thing about this band is their use of clean vocals. While the harsh, more abrasive vocals are firmly in place, a more gothic tinged clean voice mixes in some atmosphere and power sure to please fans ranging from goth to power and progressive metal. It is times like this that remind me of mid-era Amorphis, Sentenced, or even today's Mercenary. Favorite track for me is the power metal oriented cut "Winter Princess", which showcases an unbelievable riff attack.

Bottom Line - Just like other diverse bands like Soilwork and Mercenary, Chain Collector take it one more notch and include themselves in an elite list. This is a newcomer to watch! "Masquerade" comes highly recommended.



--EC 1.16.06
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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MasqueradeChain Collector
2005
Eric Compton1/18/2006


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