Storm Before The Calm – Beauty in Chaos (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

A new album from Beauty in Chaos is always something which generates a lot of excitement. There are not many bands who manage to marry alt-rock swagger, post-punk inventiveness, brooding, gothic overtones and old school rock and roll so effortlessly, certainly none which do so without falling for the usual cliches. And if Michael Ciravolo knows just how to juggle all of these sonic elements to create music with real elegance and eloquence, poise and power, and he does, the real icing on the cake is the roll call of musical friends which he invites along to juggle with him.

The Outside sets the scene perfectly, an opening salvo of dark design, rumbling, low-slung rock and roll grooves shot through with Ashton Nyte’s underworld vocals and, fractious and fragile slivers of guitar. The Delicate Balance of All Things sees Wayne Hussey steering a course towards a point where the gothic sound becomes truly atmospheric and rock music seems to have real purpose, a clash of raw edges and cloaks of sonic mist.

Beauty in Chaos are known for being able to drum up a bit of drama, of being able to fill a space with incendiary guitars, industrial strength riffs, earthquake bass and avalanche inducing drums, real “foot-on-the-monitor” rock’n’roll shot through with gothic theatrics and low-slung attitude. These are all things which they balance perfectly when they hook up with Curse Mackey on A Kind of Cruelty, but it turns out that they can also create just as much atmosphere and attitude, even when they are cutting their sonic cloth much more drastically.

Teaming up with Holy War’s Kat Leon, Stranger is a masterclass in building brooding intensity and spine-tingling anticipation from only a fragment of the sonic weapons that they are usually found wielding. And even though the song is much more about poise than power, texture than volume, it proves that there is more than one way of making an impact. It isn’t always about making a racket, even such a wonderful racket as the one that Beauty in Chaos are able to conjure.

Saving the best, and perhaps the most unique, until last, the title track is a gorgeous blend of rolling, sound washes, distant and distorted guitars and Adrienne LaVey’s operatic vocals, the song falling somewhere between Bauhaus’ spacious soundscapes and Dead Can Dance’s operatic alt-arias.

As always, Beauty in Chaos provide a stunning musical experience. They play with the anthemic qualities of rock music without ever sounding pompous and over-blown, they wander gothic pathways, never once straying into realms which might be called pretentious, their post-punk poses are cool rather than choreographed and the whole thing sounds beautiful, terrible, gorgeous, forward thinking and totally unique. I’m not really sure what more you could you ask?

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