8 Dec 2019
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Kaosis - Album Review: Hitech - Lowlife

15 Oct 2019 // A review by Steve Shyu

Kaosis is Hamilton's first and only face-painted, mask-wearing industrial dubstep metal band. And they sport that badge with pride. Having now played in Australia's Dead of Winter Festival, plus two nationwide tours, as well as headlining two Rail Records' Smash the F**king Rails Festival in their hometown, the six-unit group have finally released their long-awaited debut LP, titled Hitech - Lowlife. Having seen the band perform multiple times, Muzic.net's own Steve S. bore the honour of checking out their new album, and here's what he reckoned:

Straight off the block you know this isn't just another metal record. It's electronic, it's glitchy, it's got distorted guitars, and it has rap verses?

Those with hip-hop roots will likely catch Cypress Hill as an influence; fans of heavy metal can expect nods at the likes of Rob Zombie, Fear Factory or Ministry. Within electronic production realms, Kaosis pride themselves on being able to mix up this combination of metal guitars, guttural rapped vocals, cemented in with layers of electronic effects. Programmed drums are chosen over studio-recorded drumming, as makers of electronic music would do, but in the style of nu-metal, Kaosis did not hold back on rapid-fire double-taps on bass-drums.

Also, the aural theatrics are great fun. From the sci-fi, dystopic intro, filled with the sound of panicked screams and machine whirls, through to Zombie, which paints a bleak and violent invasion with faux-news announcements, right down to the doom-ridden End of Fear, eerie with atmospheric, echoing synths and distant screams, makes listening to this album an eventful little journey.

Personal picks are the more energised and fast-tempo drum & bass numbers Battleground and Throw ‘Em Up. As the album is predominantly grooved with the lower BPM a la dubstep, when the tempo changes up to double-time, the fun-factor is ratcheted up and there is no looking back.

The vocal and electronic synth components take up majority of the mix, and the true highlights show when individual features of the music take the spotlight, even if briefly. Like on Battleground, where the main synth hook takes over just after the chorus, or on Throw ‘Em Up, when the lead guitar plays a quick but effective riff, adds more meat to the stew and gives listeners time to digest between the verse-chorus plugs.

However, even at just nine songs (setting aside the intro track and the remix), one does experience a little listening fatigue, where half the songs are of a similar beat, and lyrical motifs and digital effects loop a number of times in one tune (granted, some forms of electronic music do this). Those with an ear for producers like Excision or early-Kill the Noise will likely find this release to be a fun ride.

Make no mistake; this is one hell of a debut album. No other group in New Zealand so far has created as unique a sound. To have pooled influences from so many genres, this is arguably one of the most creative kiwi albums of recent years.

Kaosis are taking their hard-hitting and laser-bathed stage show to Japan next month – Be sure to follow them on Facebook as they conquer the Land of the Rising Sun, and download their tunes on their website.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

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