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Adorned with septic flesh and rusted chainmail, the doom goliath known as Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean emerged from the utmost penumbral depths in the summer of 2017. The quartet, birthed from the rich riverbeds of well-established friendships tracing years back, churned their then fledgling aural revulsion at a rapid clip, producing a new track on a near weekly basis. And as the elusive summer months gave way to autumnal winds, the outfit recorded their debut album, Decay and Other Hopes Against Progress, which dropped in September 2017. Though this monolith was constructed in mere months, it exhibits a diverse tonal breadth that strikes at the core of the leviathan’s essence: wandering where a good riff takes them, irrespective of genre. Be it a stoner-tinged expanse, a blackened hardcore cudgel, or a brooding post-metal reflection, the gamut of tones brimming from Decay was but a nascent embodiment of the despondent terrains Chained would continue to flesh out in subsequent albums.
A little over one year later unfurled their sophomore effort, I Carry My Awareness of Defeat like a Banner of Victory, and with it flourished a marked evolution. The vocals became most callous and acrid. The production towered like a Stygian obelisk. The artwork from Blial Cabal sliced into the marrow of the quartet’s essence and channeled the timeworn aura permeating their compositions. Above all, however, there percolated a keen sense of craft honing. The bevy of influences continued to gush as they were intricately woven and etched—more so than their debut—into the fabric of their tracks. But the metastasizing of their sound and aesthetic did not dissolve there.
Ten months forward from I Carry‘s release, Chained would unshackle yet another cluster of three tracks under the title of Tell Me What You See Vanishing and I Will Tell You Who You Are. Their lyricism drifted from the oft trodden soil of corrupt monarchal rulers and peasant revolts, and instead, a most potent inward gaze took hold. The goliath’s tone billowed with asphyxiating repugnance amidst dismal depths. Tendrils of feedback laced the crag-strewn trenches and the riffs obliterated with primordial gnashing. But not all is bleak. In the latter minutes of the album’s second track “Out, Brief Candle”, a melodic dirge soaked in agony weeps, heightened by the crooning from David F. Bello of The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. It’s a fervent flash of unbridled grief yet it manages, at least for me, to soar into a channel of uncanny bliss. As the guitarist describes, this illustrious moment is the most fully-realized melodic flourish the band has tinkered with to date. And he assures that this tonal progression is only the beginning.
We are now, more or less, brought us up to speed with Chained’s development as a band thus far. Some liberties had to be taken in this write-up for brevity’s sake, but the lengthy podcast interview accompanying it will fill in a cavalcade of details. Chief among them are some forward-looking insights into where the band will wander next. Sometime this year, likely mid-to-late 2020, a tri-fold vinyl containing Chained’s three albums to date will be released with all new artwork from Blial Cabal. Moreover, the guitarist provides some vague morsels about the band’s next effort and chisels out some of the new timbres we can look forward to when it all culminates. There is a bunch more to discover in the conversation lying ahead, so I’ll truncate my thoughts here. Thank you so much for tuning in.
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Though most of Chained’s physical media is sold out at the time of this writing, you can peruse all of their records at their Bandcamp page. Also, be sure to follow the quartet on Facebook and Instagram if you’re keen on staying in the loop about new developments.
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