Every once in awhile you run a cross a band that's almost too smart for its own good.
I'm referring here to the Colliers-based Chaos Killed, which consists of Joshua Jenkins on vocals and guitar; Anthony Rees on bass and vocals; and Joshua Revels on drums and vocals.
The band, which spent some time over the winter recording its newest EP "Singularity" at Mike Ofca's Innovation Studio in Steubenville, has created something I've never heard from a local band - a fully mature concept record.
A power trio in the best sense of the word, it's astounding to me a local band could create something as excellent and smart as "Singularity." The six songs on the album, which include "R.E.L.I.C," "Regenesis," "Rack and Ruin," "Crusader," "Decay (Beneath The Salt)" and "Omega Point," are, to me, the next logical extension in prog-rock following after King Crimson, the founders of the genre, and extending all the way to modern bands Tool and A Perfect Circle.
Boasting an absolutely gargantuan sound, thanks to Mike Ofca's brilliant and exceedingly sympathetic production, what the EP lacks in quantity is more than made by quality.
What's different about Chaos Killed that sometimes sinks other prog-rock units is the band's complete non-pretension. A cohesive unit with great ideas and singing from Jenkins and Rees, the band isn't afraid to craft great hooks, and Jenkins' harmonies remind me a lot of the vocal play of System of a Down, another fabulous, modern prog-rock band. But even while Tool, A Perfect Circle and System of a Down had their growing pains to become the driving forces of the genre, it seems Chaos Killed arrives completely formed, with a concept and cohesion it takes most bands a lifetime to achieve, if ever at all.
The other aspect that sets these guys apart is their willingness and eagerness for experimentation, something that's evident on my favorite and last track, "Omega Point," which has one of the most compelling and artistically odd codas I've ever heard. Absolutely high art, and absolutely jarring and mesmerizing.
It's a fitting end to the album's concept of a journey toward a singularity, a place where the universe began and might one day end.
If this sounds all too high and mighty, that's your loss, because the band rocks as hard as any power trio that comes to my mind.
Josh Revels is a monster drummer with an almost manic conception. His playing reminds me of Keith Moon on steroids. He's also endlessly inventive with a completely original style. The band is tighter-than-tight, and is a jaugernaut live.
The bass tone is something to marvel at and reminds me of the late John Entwhistle of the Who's massive sound, and this again is thanks to Ofca's production, the band's vision and Anthony Rees' fabulous playing.
In this age of every band tuning down to subterranean levels and substituting loudness and fake angst for talent, Chaos Killed is, by far, the best band at its craft I've heard anywhere - not just the valley. The simple fact is no one, not even in Pittsburgh nor other nearby major urban areas, is creating anything even close to the quality of Chaos Killed's mature, thinking-man's hard rock.
In a just musical world where talent and execution of conception mattered, Chaos Killed would be topping the charts. Chaos Killed is major label talent, and the band is that good.
"R.E.L.I.C," the first single from "Singularity," in now available for download on iTunes.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)