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'Bellum' Album Review

By Jessy Kayfabe

(Formerly Jessy Switchblade of Deadline)

Chaos Doctrine Bellum Review

I don't like reviews! Period! Just the other day I was getting my own songs, lyrics, and music reviewed and boy did it fill my carcass with anxiety but when my good mate Devo asked me to give the latest offering by Industrial Thrash Metal Titans, Chaos Doctrine, a listen and perhaps even review it, I took that as a not-so-subtle call to arms and dove headfirst straight into the brief. Here is what I think about this beautiful form of audio-art that is Chaos Doctrine’s third and latest album, ‘Bellum’.


Now make no mistake, there's a reason Chaos Doctrine keep unashamedly flirting with Metal Hammer more often than any other SA Metal band, and with the release of 'Bellum' I can see why this gargantuan British Metal tabloid keeps welcoming them back with open arms, pulling the chair for them, making them a juicy steak and pouring some of their finest house wine and saying 'Welcome chaps'. With years and years of Heavy Metal experience and savvy behind them I feel this is the album that Chaos Doctrine have been working towards and close to the sound that they've wanted to create when they set out forming this sweet little cult of theirs. Well boys, I know you've been here for a while, but let me be the one to endorse this machine, sign up to your cult and sound the trumpets. To the casual or first-time listener, prepare to be indoctrinated but be careful with the cool aid, this isn’t for the faint of heart.


One of the boldest and freshest bands in the SA scene today and one of the very few bands not playing a genre of music ending with the letters 'C, O, R, and E', Chaos Doctrine forcefully take you back to the mid-90s, a dark decrepit, industrial cesspool of an era and drag you through it, raw skin on tar until you beg them to have mercy on your tainted little soul and when you think you're about to be released from their clutches, these defenders of Industrial Metal do not relinquish and keep pounding you harder and harder until you are one with their message. You simply have no choice but to bow down and obey!


They’ve definitely metamorphosed into more of a Thrash Metal act than a Death Metal one these days and I personally think this suits their guitarist, Alec Surridge, who by the way is on absolute fire on this album, much more. The production seems more polished than their previous efforts and the songwriting is exquisite. Nobody writes about cooler yet more thought-provoking topics than Dr. D and on this album, he has sharpened his pen even more and turned it into a weapon of mass destruction. On a side note, you’ll be hard-pressed to hear a breakdown on this album, so for that alone I’m already giving this album a pass. (Told you they don’t sound like anybody else in SA.)


With a ferocious lead and brutal technical precision they very literally lift the veil on their third full-length album, with well, ‘Lifting the Veil’ showcasing Alec's shredding menace and their stubborn insistence to enter the thrash realm and own it. They couldn't have chosen a better opening track. You immediately pick up on the departure from their last two albums and you can see they mean business. The track is relentless and no wonder it was showcased as the album’s first single a while back. 'Trial' hits you between the eyes like a groove-laden sledgehammer with some very ethereal and eerie Gothic symphonies and choirs as you progress through the song. I sense a little bit of Velvet Acid Christ on this one. I can’t help myself with all the comparisons on this album, but you’ll hear them as you get through it, song by hypnotic song. 'Building the Ultimate Tank' is urgent and domineering and wouldn’t go amiss on Ministry's 'Psalm 69'. It hits harder than a linebacker on match day and if you didn’t already know, you are now sitting front and center for the ’Chaos Show’.


The album adheres to a strict scorched-earth policy and by the time you get to track number four, 'One of my Bad Days' you are immediately tossed into an abyss of rhythmic guitar tones, infernal blast beats and hypnotic bass rhythms that do not relinquish their hold over you. It is a story of a guiltless mass murderer who refuses to conform to society’s rules. Chaos Doctrine were obviously raised on a healthy diet of Slayer, and it shows. I'm here for this! 'The Destroyer' is a glorious ode to Lord Shiva and tells a tale of mankind’s nuclear destruction as interpreted by Lord Shiva himself. This is one of my favorites and I absolutely love the subject matter. Chaos Doctrine aren’t scared to pillage through your gray matter and hold your mind hostage.


By the time you get to 'Martyr' you most probably need to take a break or Chaos Doctrine will crush you underfoot like a grape. (No mortal can withstand this barrage) 'Martyr' shows that our merry band of hate-fueled metal maniacs know a thing or two about slowing down the pace as they present the listener with a mesmerizing intro that will make you want to grab your partner (martyr) and glide depressingly across the dance floor and pretend that everything will be ok, but that is the only respite you’ll get child, the blast beats return almost immediately and throw you relentlessly back onto your path of Industrial Thrash precision. I promise you; everything will be ok. I love how this song takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions straight into song number seven, 'Heretic' which barges into the conversation like an arrogant Aries bodybuilder on cocaine and just when you thought they couldn’t get heavier or faster, here's proof that the boys know how to up the tempo. Certainly, the fastest song on the album and more terrific Slayer worship.


'86' is a pure industrial banger and more proof that these boys do not want you to leave the '90s alone. I get massive Battery 9 vibes from this one and the album finally comes to a close with ‘CiviLIESation’ asking all the right questions about modern-day contemporary society. It’s another crushing number and the best and most assured way to end the album. (Not that I wanted the album to end mind you) What a fun little outing. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Alec at Gemini AD Studios and therein lies its magic. Modern-day production with that '90s nostalgia. They keep moving forward without forgetting where they came from. The band is sounding as tight as ever and are rightfully claiming their baton as one of the leaders of the SA Metal revolution.


In conclusion, this album tastes of sin, smells of redemption and feels like I have been imprisoned somewhere in downtown Joburg, in a small, dark humid room under Hillbrow Tower, tied to a water bed, watching reruns of Se7en, Stigmata, and Constantine whilst sharing a bag of mushrooms with Uncle Al and Marilyn Manson as we recount our days when we managed to escape the Davidian Cult with just a knuckleduster, a leather whip, and the Bhagavad-Gita. It is a kaleidoscope of beauty through fear and darkness ... well done Chaos Doctrine!

Chaos Doctrine - Bellum

'Bellum' Album Available Friday 26 April

Chaos Doctrine

Daniel Burger 'Dr D' (Vocals), Alec Surridge (Guitar), Phil Carstens (Bass & Backing Vocals) & Jason Eedes (Drums)

Photo by Devographic Music Agency

Bio | Chaos Doctrine


Chaos Doctrine brings a unique and modern metal assault by blending old school thrash and death with aggressive industrial metal. Originally formed in 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa by vocalist Dr D (Bedlam, Malachi, DedX), the band line up is completed by veteran guitarist and band producer Alec Surridge (Sacraphyx, The Warinsane), bass guitarist, backing vocalist and band visual artist Phil Carstens (DedX), and explosive drummer Jason Eedes (Jasper Dan, Azraella’s Sorrow, Beyond the Pale & The Sinners).


For its members, Chaos Doctrine is more than a band: it is a comprehensive sensory experience and a brand. Everything the band produces conveys this – the band name itself, their aggressive sonic releases, explosive live shows, dystopic visual products, and stabbing lyrical content. Chaos Doctrine explores the shadow of the human condition, hatred, brutality, decay. Their approach is unrelenting, fueled by rage and void of apology. This is aggression, this is Chaos Doctrine!




Releases | Chaos Doctrine

Chaos Doctrine Self Titled Debut Album
Chaos Doctrine: The Chais Chronicles Vol 1
Chaos Doctrine Tribute To Slayer
Chaos Doctrine Father Grigori Engligh Version
Black Friday Bedlam feat. Jorgen Sandstr
Black Friday Bedlam Alternative Version
Chaos Doctrine - Enjoy The Silence Cover.png
Chaos Doctrine - CULT MMXXI
Chaos Doctrine - Beds Are Burning Tribute To Midnight Oil
Chaos Doctrine - And In The Beginning ... They Lied
Chaos Doctrine - Lifting The Veil
Chaos Doctrine - Martyr (Clement V Mix)
Chaos Doctrine - Martyr (Jeanne DArc Mix feat Laura Cayzer of Capgras Delusion)
Chaos Doctrine - One Of My Bad Days - Artwork By Ras Steyn
Chaos Doctrine Pink Floyd Medley.jpeg
Chaos Doctrine - Heretic.jpg
Chaos Doctrine - Bellum - Artwork 800 x 800.jpg
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