Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paul Chain - Detaching From Satan

1984, Minotauro

2.Voyage To Hell05:55
4.17 Day07:52

After a stint with Italian “horror metal” band Death SS, guitarist Paul Chain decided he wanted to leave the Satanic image he was playing in. This lead him to form Paul Chain Violet Theater, and here is their very first offering, “Detaching From Satan” from 1984. Many newcomers may feel a bit overwhelmed at the size of Paul Chain’s discography, so right away I’m going to recommend starting here. This EP can really sum up Paul Chain’s sound, and contains some of his best material.

The music here sounds very 70’s influenced, not unlike other doom acts at the time such as Pentagram, Witchfinder General, etc. However, this definitely has much more of a psychedelic edge to it (as one can see expand more at times in Paul Chain’s discography), and there are interludes containing chants and keyboards for eerie effect. The vocals are especially stunning, and aren’t the nasal Ozzy Osbourne-esque style that a lot of others were influenced by. Paul Chain’s voice is very elegant yet powerful, and carries much of the melody in the song. In fact, I would compare him to Robert Plant at times (most evident in the song “Occultism”). Leading back to the vocals carrying the melody, there aren’t really lyrics here, it’s just phonetics. Paul Chain can get away with this because his voice just does that much for the song.

It’s pretty apparent that the songs here are pretty simple in terms of structure. But this works very well for Paul Chain Violet Theater, as each song has it’s own voice due to the few riffs involved interacting with each other very well. In other words, although these songs are simple, they’re just well arranged. In addition to this, the guitar solos are astounding, and create a nice juxtaposition with the singing in terms of where the melody is in each song.

Another thing I find a appealing about this recording is the production. It’s not polished up, but it works well enough that every instrument is clearly there. It probably sounds just like if you were standing in a room with them jamming, no bullshit.

This EP alone made me appreciate what Paul Chain can do, and lead me to get into a lot of his other material. As I mentioned, if you don’t know where to start, this is a good place for what this Italian doom master has accomplished. A fantastic blend of 70’s psychedelic rock, heavy metal, and doom metal, “Detaching From Satan” will convince you in a mere 23 minutes that you have to hear more of this.


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