In 2012, thrash crossover Chemical Way formed in Montreal with a sole intention: “only to make you mosh.” The first time I listened to their second album Chilling Spree which was released in July 2018 – their first since the Frost Fight single in 2014 – my initial reaction was, “Holy shit, I have no idea how I would survive in this incredible mosh pit.” So, if Chilling Spree is any testament to their ability to do so, then I can only imagine that they’ve succeeded in spades. And, if any of you would like to put them to the test, you’ll have an opportunity to do so when they play at Bucketlists’ Buckfest 4.0 on July 12th, 2019 at Piranha Bar!
While I am not overly familiar with the defining differences between niche metal styles, I really don’t feel as if any of this is particularly necessary to appreciate a damn impressive album such as this. Blending punk-influenced vocals and lyrics that often come in the form of shouting rather than growling with incredibly fast-paced heavy metal instrumentation, Chilling Spree contains all of the elements that make up a good album. However, here they catapult you in the face at such a high speed that you might not be able to comprehend what is happening to your ears. On average, the tracks are relatively short. But due to the sheer speed at which they are played, I would safely bet that in terms of the number of notes played, Chilling Spree is basically a double album compressed into one. “This Isn’t Earth” is a fine example of this.
Between Renaud’s unreal drumming, Tannen’s basslines in tracks such as “24s and Whores” and “Frost Fright,” and the heavy chords and face melting rhythm and lead guitar combo of Ox and Royce, it truly is difficult to find anything to criticize about this album. Chemical Way have even found a way to inject their aggressive and unforgiving sound with a fair degree of subtle humour, such as in “No Fly Zone” which opens with the sound of a fly and someone screaming “AH FUCH” (rendering them slightly less intimidating). “Organ Donor,” my personal favourite, features one of the more melodic riffs on the album and is perfectly short, sweet, and loud.
Chilling Spree successfully places me very comfortably outside of my musical comfort zone. Now, I must survive the mosh pit…
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson