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Chaos Pick Their Battles on Second Album

The Thiruvananthapuram-based thrash metal band re-enlist Delhi producer-guitarist Keshav Dhar for ‘All Against All’, due later this year


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[L-R] Vishnu Rajendranath, S Jayakrishnan, Nikhil NR and Manu Krishnan of Chaos. Photo courtesy of the band.

[L-R] Vishnu Rajendranath, S Jayakrishnan, Nikhil NR and Manu Krishnan of Chaos. Photo courtesy of the band.

Metallers across the world don’t mince words. When you ask Thiruvananthapuram thrash metallers Chaos what their second album is all about, their lead vocalist S. Jayakrishnan has a quick comeback: “It’s about what makes us pure assholes. All Against All is the band’s follow-up to their debut album Violent Redemption, which was released in 2013.

While the 10-track Violent Redemption was equally blunt about corruption and politics on songs like “Game,” and “War Crime,” Chaos, who came together in 2005, are faster, heavier and even more pissed off on All Against All, which deals with racism within India and blind religious belief, among other topics. The band entered the studio in late July, flying down Delhi-based guitarist and producer Keshav Dhar [from prog rock band Skyharbor] to track guitars, bass and vocals at a friend’s home studio in Thiruvananthapuram. Later in September, drummer Manu Krishnan [from Bengaluru metallers Escher’s Knot], the band and Dhar will travel to Mumbai to record live drums at That Studio. Says Dhar, “With this kind of music, drums just has to be played live. And he’s a drummer who’s got studio experience.” Dhar also worked with the band to record, mix and master Violent Redemption in 2012.

Chaos spent six days recording with Dhar, working 12-hour days to track all parts and even wrote a relentless riff churner like “The Great Divide” in about three hours, which guitarist Nikhil NR says he’d just written lyrics for as a starting point. Nikhil adds that the pressure of time constraints actually helps them write. He says, “If you have the time to sit and decide a lot of things about a song, it may not have that rawness.” Comparing it to 2013 track “War Crime,” Nikhil says “The Great Divide” was also written in a few hours and is the second Chaos song to include additional riffs by Dhar, who also contributed to the title track “All Against All.” Says Dhar, “Even though I don’t play that intense kind of metal any more, it was fun. I was like, ‘Wow, this is all in standard tuning!” The producer, who will also mix and master All Against All, is all praise for Chaos’s work ethic. Although Jayakrishnan says everyone, including Dhar, “did their homework,” Dhar adds, “They are so proficient at what they do. We never got tired.”

This time around, Jayakrishnan says they aren’t even going to cook up an ominous slow intro like on Violent Redemption. The vocalist adds of whichever song they pick to open the album, “It’s going to feel like a train just hitting you.” He says he’s particularly happy about screaming his lungs out on a track tentatively titled “Rise from the Ashes,” the first of at least three tracks from the album they will begin playing live. Nikhil says the meanest song on the album for him is “The Enemy,” which is about blind religious belief. The guitarist adds, “It’s aggressive, but it doesn’t mean it’s fast. It’s just mean, you know?”

The band has put All Against All on priority, looking to release it within 2015, although it would mean tracking drums, mixing and mastering with Dhar before Skyharbor heads off on a North American tour at the end of October. For Chaos, however, this album has been in the works since 2012, when they had just finished recording Violent Redemption. As Nikhil notes, “We came up with the lyrics first. That way, the music has to do justice to the lyrics. This album has come together so effortlessly.” Jayakrishnan adds that the album clocks in close to the running length of Violent Redemption, about 35 minutes. Says the vocalist, summing up what thrash metal is all about, “It’s short and to the point.”

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